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Full text of "Sermons preached by the Rev. Raymond Shaheen, D.D. (1975)"

Sermons Preached by the Rev. Raymond Shaheen, D. D. 

Year.1975 SERMON TITLE 



January 5, 1975 
January 12, 1975 
January 26, 1975 
February 2, 1975 
February 9, 1975 
ffitS^S:^ February 16, 1975 

mi*- 



tfi^ March 2, 1975 
fflat-chl if 7-6" 

tM$> March 16, 1975 



March 30, 1975 
April 6, 1975 
April 13, 1975 
April 20, 1975 
April 27, 1975 
May 4, 1975 
May 11, 1975 
May 18, 1975 
June 1, 1975 
June 8, 1975 
June 15, 1975 
June 29, 1075 



"Give -And Take" 

"Colony Of Heaven" 

"Give -And Take"- II 

"Whatever You Do-" 

"Divine Perspective" 

"Life Is A 3-D Affair" 

"I Am - The Good Shepherd' 
"J#tf> '-The 0*0*" " 

"I Am- The Bread Of Life" 

"Follow The Leader" 
"On Being Christ-Minded" 
"How To Handle Loneliness" 
"Learn By Living" 
Organ Dedication 
"About Prayer" 
"The Christian Home" 
Communion Meditation 
"In The Time Of Exodus" 
"A Towel In His Hand" 
"About The Bible" 
"Whose Are We" 



TEXT 



Matthew 7: 1 



Matthew 7: 1 



Luke 18 



John 6: 42 

Philippians 2:5 
John 16: 32 
Genesis 5: 27 
Psalm 146: 2 
Matthew 6 :7 



Exodus 12: 34 
John 13: 3-4 
John 20:31 
I John 3: 2 



1975- continued 



SERMON TITLE 



TEXT 



July 6, 1975 


"Except The Lord Build — " 




July 13, 1975 


"To Change A World" 


II Corinthians 

C -IT 


July 20, 1975 


"Our Agonizing God" 


5: 17 
Romans 8: 26- 


July 27, 1975 


"According To God's Plans" 


28 

Romans 8: 14- 

39 


August 3, 1975 


"Case Study In How To Handle 




Yourself? 


John 6: 1-15 


August 17, 1975 


"Acceptance Yourself" or "The 


Matthew 15: 




You You happen To Be. . ." 


21-28 


August 24, 1975 


"Case Study On How To Win 
Friends and Influence People" 


John 1:43-51 


August 31, 1975 


"Good Man Can Give Bad 
Advice" 


Matthew 16; 23 


September 28, 1975 


"Beyond Impulse" 





October 19, 1975 

October 26, 1975 

November 2, 1975 

November 9, 1975 

November 16, 1975 

November 16, 1975 

November 23, 1975 

November 30, 1975 

December 7, 1975 

December 14, 1975 

December 21, 1975 

b 

December 24, 1975 

December 28, 1975 



"Prove It" 

^ "Stay Alert" 

"A Christian's View Of Death" 

"A Matter of Record" 

"-On Baptism" 

"In The Here And In The Now" 

"How It's Going To End" 

"If It's Tuesday It Must Be 

Belgium" 

"Signs of Hope" 

"Return Engagement" 

"A Diet For The Soul" 

"Christmas Is Now" 

"The Difference Christmas Makes' 



Isaiah 1:9 



Proverbs 15: 17 



Matthew 2:11 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Second Sunday After Chris toas ._ January , 5 S , 1975 

" GIVE - - AiH> TAKE" 

SUMS* Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son 

Jesus Christ j, our Blessed Lord. 
A men. 

The preacher last to staud at this sacrea desk., today a week ago* directed 
our thoughts, and properly so, to tne matter of MM Year's resolutions. His 
sermon has triggered ail kinas of thoughts in my mind since I heara it. And 
as I reflected upon it, I come to this sacred desk this morning to talk to 
you about the realm, perhaps, the area, in which some of us undoubtedly have 
made some Mew Year resolutions. 

Presumably each one of us who uas taken this matter seriously has decided 
that In 1975 he'd like to improve himself, he'd like to become a better person. 
Now closely related to that is the other area, the area of interpersonal rela- 
tionships. In 1975 who among us would not like to master the art of getting 
along with other people? 

Now we'd have no problem, of course we wouldn't, if everyone treated us 

the way we think we ought to be treated. But what can become as an alienating 

factor in some of our relationships is when people take us to task, quite 

bluntly — when they criticize us. Now the title for this sermon is :! Give - 

and Take 5 ' — and the text: the words of our Biassed Lord recorded as the first 

verse of the 7th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. Let roe read it 

for you the way J, B. Phillips has put it down for us: 

"Don't criticize people, and you will not 
be crit i cized." 

Now I dare say to you, had I been around when Jesus was preaching this sermon 

of which this text was a part. I think it would have caught me up short at that 

point, and I don't know that I would have gotten much of the rest of the sermon, 



?v Cive - And Take"' (2) 






because there's something in this text that causes me to be hung up. 

How quite frankly, I don't mind telling you there are some passages of 
Scripture that are easier for me to believe than others. How this may be true 
because I lack faith and I cannot fully understand what Scripture says, or it 
may be because of my lack of experience , and I cannot fully understand what 
the Bible is setting forth in front of us. But now as far as this text is 
concerned, if this is a valid translation, and I believe it to bes 

"Don't criticize others and you will not be criticized" 
.....it would have prompted me to stay after the sermon was over, and I think I 
would have been bold enough to go up to the Great Preacher » and as the crowd 
dwindled, I would have said, ''Can 1 speak with you for a minute? I don't 
know that I agree with what you said - - I don't know that I fully understand 
it — maybe I'm taking issue with it. You said, don't criticize others ? and 
then they won't criticize you ~ ~ - I believe we are criticized whether we 
criticize other people or not! It isn't that we're criticized only because we 

criticize people it seems to be the nature of all of us who are given to 

criticize people. It happens to be a fact of life. So I take issue with the 
text; 'Don't criticise people and then they won't criticize you' - - I say to 
you s it 5 s the obstacle course of life that each of us runs. Each of us is going 
to be criticized at one time or another , whether we criticize other people or 
not.' 1 

And that's why I particularly appreciate what someone has said. Let me 
read for you the direct quotations 

"Gently, or roughly, kindly, or cruelly , the 
critics xtfill have their shot at you. It may be your 
inferiors, your equals , your superiors. It could be 
your family, your neighbors, your boss, your public*, 



"Give - and Take" (3) 



your rivals. Or if you are in business , your 
customers. Somebody is sure to think that you 
are less than perfect and will not mind telling you so ... " 
How I want this sermon to be as helpful as it can possibly be, if you don't 
mind. So I want to talk about with you for a little while , this whole matter 
of how to handle criticism, how to take it. 

Wm relax, I'm not coming to this sacred desk this morning fresh from an 
onslaught of criticism with which I have had to deal this week. I'm not giving 
vent to my frustrations or my hostilities — please relax at that point. But 
what I am hoping to say to you comes out of the overflow of what these years, 
I think, and 1 say it humbly,, have taught me. And perhaps a thing or two that 
has occurred to me as I try to remind myself of them, may hold you in good 
stead. 

I think you ought to know that it's not easy for preachers to take criti- 
cism. Preachers are artists~of-sorts 9 and artists are not given to taking criti- 
cism easily. There's anotner reason why we are not given to taking criticism 
easily, is because most of you people are so polite a you're so kindly considerate 
of us. The sermon is preached, the preacher stands at the door, he shakes your 

hand you feel constrained to say some good thing. You don't want to hurt 

the preacher's feelings — • really, this is the way you handle most of us. 

I'm thinking particularly of the dear old lady who came to church , and 
every Sunday she was constrained to say some good thing to the preacher as she 
shook his hand at the door. And one Sunday it was a tertible sermon — honestly, 

it was awful and when she shook his hand at the door, constrained to say 

some good thing, she said, "Pastor, that was a wonderful text!" 

I know a Synod President who tells me that if a preaeher does get a nervous 
breakdown, one of the reasons may be for it, just one of the reasons may be, is 



: 'Give - and Take t: (4) 

because he's never learned how to handle criticism. He's just never learned 
hot to take it. Do you see how I'm taking you into my confidence this morn- 
ing? 

They tell tie, not that I'm athletically inclined, but I learn a bit from 
those who know something about athletics, that one of the first things that a 
football coach will do when he meets his men for the first time, if he's a 
good coach, he will teach them how to fall, how to handle a tackle. Invariably 
they're going to be tackled . . . invariably there's going to be an obstacle in 
the course that they run. Life is like that! Invariably somebody's going to 
tackle, whatever the degree, and we do well to learn how to take it. 
How let me suggest several ground rules, if you don't mind. 
The first one is this; When criticism does come y our wa y, listen • — take 
time to bring it some attention. .. for one purpose, to find out first of all if 
there is any truth to it. And then if there's any truth to it, decide to do 
something about it — that's the second step. 

...none of us, you see, is qualified to run his course through life 

being his own best critic. And as we run our course through 
life we will encounter other people who may take it upon them- 
selves as a sacred obligation to criticize us. And when that 
happens, listen to it, and see if there's any truth in it. 
This sermon as it develops will become increasingly transparent to you, 
if you don't mind, that is, I will become increasingly transparent. In my 
early years among you — I've forgotten whether it was the third, fourth or 
fifth year now — there was a member of this congregation who came to me and 
criticized my preaching. I want to say to you, I'm glad le did. It caused 
me to reflect, to evaluate some things that I had rather become reckless 
regarding it. How here again, be patient with rae and don't misunderstand me, 
if in the last few years you've detected any measure of improvement in my 



"Give - and Take" (5) 



preaching, I owe that man a great deal of credit because of it. How this might 

not have happened if I had gone immediately on the defensive and refused to 

look for the trutn that was inuerent in uis criticism . . . 

- ~ Abraham Lincoln (you remember it, don't you) was told 
by another cabinet member tnat Staunton (he was his Secre- 
tary of war, wasn't he?) had said of Abraham Lincoln, he 
was a fool, how did Abraham Lincoln respond? Grand and 
good and noble man that he was, Lincoln simply said; ''Well 
Staunton is a wise man, and if Staunton calls me a fool, 
I'd better look into it. 1 ' 

Ground H.ule mamber One: ghen_jgritjLcisj; ..comes y our way, , listen if only to 

discover what element of truth can be found in it. 

Second Ground Rule: Decide at once to profit b y it, and to make the most 
of this encounter that you had. Say to yourself that you will mature in the 
process now that's beginning to develop. Decide to improve your situation 
because of it. And if you can possibly do this, as part of the criticism that 
has come your way, learn to appreciate the role of the person who has done the 
criticizinei It takes a bit of courage on the part of someone to criticize us. 
It takes an unbounded measure of love on the part of an honest person to criti- 
cize us. 

Frankly, I'm troubled at this point. I don't know how to put it — there 
are some people I feel I ought to rebuke. There are some people I feel that 
maybe in God's plan in my relationship with that person, I should become the 
chastening instrument. But I hesitate, and I waver, because I'm not so sure 
that that person Knows how to handle it and that that parson will allow cur rela- 
tionships to improve because of it. That's a lamentable thing to have to admit. 
As part of this second Ground Rule I suggest to you that when criticism does 



: Give •-• and Take' ; (6) 



come your way,, you learn to profit by it to the extent that you can empathize 

with other people who are being criticized. 

That grand and good man who had a noble influence on 

ray life from the days when I first went to Camp Hawakwa, 
all through college, all through Seminary — the man who 
performed the wedding ceremony for Winifred and me when *ra 
were married., the man who cradled in the crook of ais arm 
our two sons and named them for Jesus Christ, Head of the 
Department of Practical Theology at Gettysburg Seminary, 
Harvey Daniel Hoover...,..! used to drive the distance from 
South Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Gettysburg just to spend 
a half hour with him and to unload before him the brunts of 
the burdens that he was carrying in my first parish. I 
sought out his wise counsel based upon his years of experi- 
ence that came from his pastor's heart, 

...and when he woula counsel me, then it seemed that some- 
where in the conversation he'd tell me about some of the 
things he had to carry - - some of the downright untruthful 
and unmerciful things that people had 3aid about that big_ 
man with the gracious spirit. I learned, canrrying the brunt 
of ray criticism, to hava a measure of empathy for aim and 
others. 

Grou nd Rule I lumber Three, if you don't mind: When critici sm comes your way, 
don' t coll apse u nder ;_ i_t — face it rather boldly -— take it on the chin s m I 
then remember that even in the Apostles' Creed we say somethi^v nfcee* eo:-.'.ing 
to the end of our days, the end of our years, facing Him who will be the Judge 
of the living and the dead, and none of us is ever going to escape the critical 



:; Give - and Take" (7) 

eye of Him who is Lord and 'Sivar of Life, even Jesus Christ, himself. And remem- 
ber that as you receive, the brunt of criticism, that one day you'll plead for 
mercy ., at the hand of Him whose eye is the most critical of all eyes. 

Another Gr ound Rule: Be big enough to tak e the c riticism., if not for your 
own sake., the n for the s ake of the person who does the c riticizing . Mow you 
never thought of it that way. did you? We're all caught up on this thing to- 
gether, whether we're the criticized or the ones who do the criticising, Sow 
I've learned enough from human nature to know that there are some people who 
simply have to get it off their chest. There are sou*?, people who have to blow 
the lid. Now if you're caught up in that, and your" re being criticised, try to 
be big enough to let that person give vent to his feelings. It could be — • and 
this is a risk worth taking — it could be that once that is done, the situation 
from that point on could begin to improve. 

...my father was that kind of a person. It was worth all 

the blast and the fury for the improved relationship that came 

when you began to pick up the pieces together. 

The temptation, of course, is always to fight back. We become infuriated, 
when we're criticized, and then we're prone to criticize them. I say to you 
quite frankly, two wrongs don't make a right ~ - two hates" don't make a love! 

liow the last Ground Rule, if I may offer it to you 2 Cushion the shock of 
criticism with a bjt of humor, a bit of ho nes ty and a bit of grace. This is 
not easy to do. I wish that I had mastered this when I needed it most. How 
please s at some risk now, remember I have been your Pastor for nineteen years. 
You ought to know me by this time. liemember how I tell you this... 

...some years back when there was thrust upon me the most grievous burden 
that I think I've carried as a Pastor of a congregation., a man came into my of- 
fice here at the church and dressed me down — took issue with se on a number of 



7j Give - and Sake" (3) 

things. The upshot was that he told me in no uncertain way that this parish was 
too big for me and I ought to think seriously of resigning. Mow listen to via 
carefully. I happen to love this parish, and I think with whatever strength 
God gives me I try to give you a day's work. And I was working harder than, at 
that point of my life, than I had ever worked before. Mm I am laying bare ray 
soul to you. My immediate reaction? I was infuriated! And I maa fighting baek! — 
but to no avail. He's a wise man who says, when you're criticised , don ? t try to 
defend yourself , because, if it's true, you don't have to be the defender, and if 
it's false, you have no defense! But I blundered that day, and I rue it ever since. 

Upon reflection? I think the day would have been saved for both of us if one of 
us, and perhaps t, could have displayed a bit of iiumor and grace and honesty. What 
I should have said, when he told me the parish was too big for me and I ought to re- 
sign, I should have said; "Sit down,, brother! Talk softly! Let's not get this out! 
Let's not have too many other people thinking this way! I've been thinking this way 
for a long time, and now you've found it out ■ - ! Let*s just keep it to ourselves!" 
...maybe that's the way I should have talked, ilaybe I should have said this; "I 
think part of your statement I agree with completely. This parish is too big for me. 
That's why I'm praying harder now than I've ever prayed in ny life ~- that's why I'm 
reaching out to certain people in this parish for spiritual strength and comfort and 
courage as I never did before. You're absolutely right , it is too big for rie! r! 

I say to you quite candidly, I've benefited by that, I think. I look back, and 
if I bad it to do over again, I don't know that I would have asked God to eradicate 
that painful chapter. It did come, and for heaven's sake, just because I'm speaking 
so frankly to you about criticism today , don't you make a field day of it, and take 
advantage of me. I suppose the wit was right when he said: Criticism will come your 
way, you can't stop it. but you might begin by removing some of the causes for it. 
Mow that's something to think about it. 



" Give - and Take'' (9) 



Well, I"© sorry to admit to you that this HilfKl'll beer, only half preached, 
It bears the titles Give - and Take." Cue day maybe I can coae frffcfrtr to this 
sacred desk and talk to you about the otnar aspect of criticism — ftm to dish 
it out — - how to give it! Because it does become the Christian to criticise! 



(This sanaon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon ~ Pastor Rayaond Shaheen 

The STirst Sunday Afte r Epipha ny- An niversary Su nday January JL_2__, _JL9 ? 5 

"C OLOHY OF HEAVES' 

GOD, For every congregation that has 

I .area in Thy hauie known as Saint 
Luke Church ir. Silver Sprint;, we're 
grateful: wherever they have rjet in 
the passing of these years we likewise 
give thanks, for eaca of those pastors, 
worthy men of God, wiio in years gone by 
stood up and proclaimed to tne waitixig 
people the truth and the love of Jesus 
Chri3t. .lay it happen again, ana happen 
now, ihaen. 

There's something to be said for asking fanciful questions. Last Sunday 
night a sroall group of us had supper together., and after we had eaten we gave, 
ourselves to what one ought to give himself occasionally snore often than he 
usually does — to profitable conversation. And in the course of tne conversa- 
tion someone suggested- Suppose you were free to be some other person of wheu 
you've knovm or whom you've known, who has lived within this century — whom 
would you prefer to be? What characteristics, what traits, what attributes in 
that person's life would you prefer to have ir* your life? Such an exercise can 

be highly beneficial, you see. 

— It could indicate a great deal about yourself > to say nothing of the measure 
of appreciation that you have for some other worthy parson. . . . 

There's a great deal to he sain for asking fanciful questions. Suppose 
you were to be assigned this exercise — if you could choose to have been alive 
in sorue other era, other than this present one, when would you like cost to have 

lived? or,, if you're past 45 and beyond, how about posing this question: 

ivhat do you think is the optiuun age? 

now I know it's said. n Grow old along with sse, the best 

of life is yet to be ' - - that's alright., if you can continue 
to be lEantally alert and without physical infirmity. But cotae now, what would 



"Colony of Heaven 5 "' (2) 



you say is an optiimna ape? 

For our [ramose this morning, ir-arking the 35th anniversary of this con- 
gregation* I MB about to «m|nr to yon that there's a ?reat deal to be said 
for age thirty™ five. How withhold yotir opinion, think what you want to to your- 
self, you could or could not agree. Some of us who are beyond thirty-five 
wouldn't for the minute want to shift into reverse and go back to it. And 
■maybe there are some of you. who are not yet in your thirties who are not so sure 
that you'd like to take a short-cut and find yourself suddenly catapauited into 
the mid-period of a fourth decade, ikit I suggest to you, there is a great deal 
to be said for thirty-five as an optiffiua>. age. 

Look at it this way; by the time one is thirty-five he should have learned 
a thing or two. The trituration process surely should have set in. 3iy the time 
he's thirty-five he does have a bit of history behind his. He has traveled some 
distance., and profitably so. by the tiixe he's thirty-five he's still eager to 
face what lies ahead t ana perhaps could be at that very fina oeriou in life where 
his productive capabilities still have a fresh quality. At thirty-five a mm 
isn't tired, granted he's taken care of hiaseif. And at thirty-five a man has 
a great deal for which yet to live. So suppose we accept the premise — phrase 
it any way you want to, but for our purpose let s s say there is a great deal to 
'be said for having reached one's 35ta year... 

. . . what has gone before can now 
stand as a supportive arm. He's gathered a treasure cf strength, and as he faces 
the future he's beckoned, by it, and wouldn't think for a single lainute of re- 
treating or withdrawing. 

how. ...can we apply that premise to tnis congregation? I'd like to believe 
that we can. I'd like to believe at thirty- live that we've gathered some strength, 
and I E d like to believe at thirty- five years of age we can still be excited about 
what lies ahead. And even if we don't know what it is that lias ahead, we can 



"Colony of Heaven'' (3) 



still be excited about the fact that ws ought to be aoving ia a certain direc- 
tion. How to serve our purpose Caere's a text for this sermon, as well taere 
ougat to be -~ the text that's drawn from the ..alad and spirit uf a «a wao and 
a very ware spot ia his heart for young congregations, ha was, if you please, 
the original Milton J„ aiebar who did his share of ka^feg hop - skip~and~jump 
across Asia Minor aaU gataered Christians to^acaer and aet with taea and started 

new congregations and then aovad on to another place. But he'd still keep 

ia couea *Ith tuarg and he ,ms wolt to write then letters, lie has a whole string 
of letters to his credit, v/e call than epistles -■■- the Epistles of a Eian narked 
Paul. 

And one such eon regatiou that still occupied his warm spot ia his aeart 

was that grouy of Christians who lived in Philiipi. So he wrote thet, a latter. 

Ana I suppose he sight nave been thinking about some anniversary in their life 

in which he wanted theia to assess very clearly in their own minds as tc who 

they were and what they were neant to be. In taat gdta verse of the 3rd chapter 

of that Letter he says to taen — and I 5 11 give you a free translation; 

"Bo you people really know who you are? I : ll tell you what 

yen* are - you're a colony of Heaven! You're cteant to be 

God's outposts here on earth. You're laeant to be his 
called, selected, special representatives." 

Well, there's a figure of speech for you. I'd like to say as we look back over 
these thirty-five years of Saint Enate Church, it's an apt descriptive for this 
congregation. I'd like to believe that we can say vary properly, Saint Luke 
Lutheran Church , Silver Spring, Maryland is an outpost of God's. 

A parson ougnt to know who ae is and what he's NftSt to ae. daere ar- 
t-hose who tell us taat the real crisis of our civilization is really a crisis 
of identity, we just i«a*t iaiow who we are — that's what people tell us — and 
until we :.;now who eo are we don't Kaow where we're lueant to go! or what we're 



Colony of Heaven ' (4) 



it * fal or hov we're MMM to accept the treatment that IM #et! 

I bM ~.: ft* oiaa Hues from 'tka DmIS of a Salesman is when Millie's 
sons gather tftaai Ma 0MM*i Ml c ae o£ thaa .says aoout ,.ii.iit words to 
this* effect, I can* | 0fcM the direct ^feMMMi MM a pity - ue never 
really kaew who he was!*' I'd ii..c u. «ao;ait to you that fckta ccagrs&ation 
after thirty -five years has as ^ueatiou aoout its JJialitf « -• it iosova 
exactly wbo it ia! ana what it's aaaat to oe bare on earth, ana tnat descrip- 
tive "A Bt&ttf of leaves" I'd like to say fits as. 

M la order tc matter appreciate, it, do you wind it I |Mt you a ait of 
:; ,,;i,M» Load i> u.sjC-2cLvii :;.« to just iio* you happen to get tnat figure of speech 
frow the Apostle ?aul. Wail /ou' 11 MM it WaatMt Mat tui«s is Mm ttat of 
tit) fcaaa I p&Mu how try M iw»lf tais - - try to picture tkla in your 
■. It is jftlfflliif 1j ft*MwdlM> At Ma KM* ox the ikwsaa A wpire... aMa 
it MM at its height, it stretched all tae way Croc, the .ofca z, ;.-.■; t«.. die 
Mt* HHTt ..i; the way front the Atlantic Ocean to tae hupnratos tfcrar* 

tiki* 0}ix« M m ■•MMJAti Ly a AM of iorce. You HI MM- 

MM Ijf armies. But there''' 3 a time (MMMN MM it i;.aaas to be MM Mitt ■ 
■ ftm Mfc't rv.iy Bjta force. Mv ttll IMM were very clever people, 
I'll tell ftm mmtttVf Hwtr strategy.. . ...in order to hold fcae MVi** Mtfl ; 

M aal to Mt| t:ii3 L.i i .!rl...„itar, t.je MMJ of MM upon it,, they had recruited 
vary cu .;/ earMta patpM* tai then piaceJ Mi Mm ttawf gt fe&H y at 

certain places of KM wptOTi> tad they 3ai; ., Ml you liva here as a little 
colony of . .3. You ■wist never forr.at «M you are. You MM* always MM 
ta touch v/ltn yoar mm MHMti you mist live m4 Ball - HMt| ifetOT MMC ■soo-- 
La &£<< | -.-I; to ■'. :j StM Wf I " . 1 tt icaelf. 

. ...taey succeeded so well t MM ftftftS i Period of r':' Mat of 

t-it fttf&a S* the provinces Mt Ht ' a MMeU \.raits as.d iharacteristics H 
the Eoaian citizens and they themselves applied for Mfatt citizenship ami vmm 



'Colony of Heaven' : (5) 



granted it. 

how I'i like to think that See is saying to us in Saint Luke Church — 
"You're to he Wf special people, you're to he my recruits. You're to ho ray 
chosen one-;, put down as an outpost in suburbia!" You nay not bo willing to 
accept this at first blush, but I' a willing to suggest that if us. had a survey 
m&2«, we alffet have to accept the fa-t that there are raore people in suburbia 
in an area such as Siivedir Spring who yet up in the morning and never so much 
as touch base with God, never so much as look in his direction and to realize 
that they belong to hie and they are neant to live as his citizens here on 
earth, and to ehbraee the virtues taut become the children of God. There are 
aore people who don't ho that than people who do. fed yet this is toi'a yorld, 
and God loves it, ana God says, "It belongs to fta, and I'm not §§§«£ to give 
Bf ay hold on it - - due to see that ay purposes will be accoiiiplisuea, I will 
count en certain pfcopla and I'll astaclish thevu. as little colonic so c:.at 
when they coiae fcogfttaer they can reflect ay_ way, _ny_ truth and livi according 
to ray standards. 

Now if you were to ask me what Saint Luke Church ^as beenuup to for tairty- 
five years, I'd a*f for thirty-five years she s s kept herself as a Colony of 
Heaven, in which ae&fla are drawn together and then re-oriented as they have .oeen 

re-established as they've touched base with the hoivaiana .and then gone out 

to live in the conaainity of which taay are a part as citisens of uneven. 

Sdw a 3raat deal has happened in these thirty-five years, hue pressures 
of the tisias, the turnoil «&4 tea unsattleuient. It's Deen a ?ltftnfiag scene. But 
one tbiu~ bat fftAaliMKJ CO»*t*at. Svaxjr feiaa, I would like to believe, tuc peo- 
ple of this congregation '^a^e come tegpatfear, they've cone together for the 
purpose of touch! il base «&th the bo.ielan; - - trying to Iook in the airaction 
of their S«pr« -. zander — cryiu to r-call the tradition that's batag Wf 1 *** 



"golepy of Seavaa" (6) 



imposed upon them by tfte grace of fe*j -- look at it that way! Ane then going 
out and exemplifying tiiose virtues in the miust of a pagan society. 

From my vantage-point I look jack and I think ho* constantly, as the peo- 
ple of Saint Luke Churcii gather together they had recalled for them a religious 
reading of life. The God- factor was always being introduced. You know one of 
the terrible things that's happened to us in recent times; that we Suffer from 
despair. We become too cynical, and for the first time in our history we have 
a generation of young people who on occasion have been characterized as cynical. 
I don't think that has aver happened before. Mark Twain could be cynical - - 
let me read for you what he once wrote about life: 

. . . a myriad more are born they labor md 
sweat arxd struggle for bread; they squabble 
and scold and fight,; they scramble for little 
■mean advantages over one another. Ag« creeps 
upon them- infirmities follow. Those they 
love are taken away front then", until at length 
ambition is dead, pride is dead, and the longing 
for release coses in its place. It comes at 
last - - the only unsolicited guest earth ever 
had for then . . . " 

said Mark Twain 

'" . . . sad 
they vanish from a world where they were of no 
consequence . ' 

To that kind of thinkinn Saint Luke Church for over thirty-five years 
as it represents the Colony of Heaven has said, This is true! As a people 

they have neen confronted by each preacher who has stood before them in their 
encounter with God to say, "I protest against such thinking." Life is mean- 
ingful because we have bean redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. 

Do not permit yourself to believe that you are of no consequence. You 

are the sons of God s you are important to Him, and you are important to one 
anotaer. You are important to a world that needs what you have to offer. 

This morning one of the first people I greeted before the St 30 hour, not 

a mei...»ar of this parish, who attends with some degree of regularity, ai said. 



"Colony of Heaverr (7) 

: ' Today is your 35th anniversary s isn't it? 1 ' . . . i! ¥es.' ir . , . "Well. I've 

read sowa things about your church, but let we add MM thiw; that I've uot 

seen in print:; it gives m a lift each moraine, whan IV in the car pool and 

B**t hy at 7:00 o'clock, Monday through Friday, to see your flags flying." 

...it: erl B "■ ■-. a thought in ny raind. In coapauy with sowe of you uao 

have traveler- in ulnar places - - I remewber that trip around tha worlu, other 

trips abroad before and since -- now when I'd visit this; corner of the capital 

city or that corunr ftf the capital city, thayhi point out co ue, this ia the 

British Chancery. . . . tnis is tha Norwegian bwbassy, ... , I renei-ber once in 

that tiny Kingdom of gepal w-.ny uyon the place wuer- ; tha People's Republic of 
China had its embassy. . . . 

...... and there was its flag flying. I twetubmt how 

in different places on the face of this earth I've seen the flags of different 

nations flying. And new I reflect; within that eoa$ 3«»d which was their 

Chancery cr their Embassy thtty reflected tha traditions of the :■■ wAna! -- ~ 

they ware the ones who were always keying in touch with the nose base. And 

then when they wont out into the community where they happened to live, what 

tha Nepal ufta knew about the People's Republic of China they anew because of 

the Chinese who lived aao:a., toiv. Apply that yardstick to any nation that's 

represented in another country, . , . 

. . . Saint Luke Church keeps its flags 

flyin;; £s its people, Sunday after Sunday, turn their backs upon this place, 

their colonial compound, an. ga out into the world and fake their Ispression 

In the KMHM of Jesus Christ. Sew that'* what we gave been doing in the past. 

\le ought to gather strength fros it. I save t< say, if you were to ask me, 

Ant does the future hold? —■ s>w;< : ; of ee have some idea of a new challenge. 

And if ever we ought to be able to face a greater day, never at any other tfea 

in our hiatory are we Aww.ar rrow.arw to- A' it. Aecp this ir ■ ■;■• ". '. will you, 

as the future unfolds. 

■ * • (Transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

jhe Third Sunday Af tegJgh^Bpjghany, January 26, 1975 



"GIVB AND TAKE ; ' - II 



GRACE* liercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son 

Je sus C hrist, our Blessed Lord, Aaen. 



The sermon today is a follow up on that seraon which was preached several 
weeks ago on the general subject of CRITICISM. The title for that seraon sev- 
eral weeks ago was simply n GIVE ASD TAKE" and it was intended when that sermon 
was being preached that it would have been a balanced sermon, dealing with both 
hot to take criticism as well as how to give it. But time s as you may remember 3 
ran out on us, and we never did get around to such talking about hot to give 
criticise. How that's the purpose of this sermon this morning. 

If Dr. Kenneth Foreman could say. somewhat to our caution as well as to 
our comfort: "Gently or roughly, kindly or cruelly, the critics will have their 
shots at you. It may be by your inferiors , your equals or your superiors. It 
may be by your family, your boss* your public, your rivals 9 your customers. 9m m 
body is sure to think that you are less than perfect and will not mind telling 
you so. . . 8 

. , . now if Dr. Foreman can say this- then I think I can just as 
surely say to you that each of us holds in his own hand the shooting gun of 
criticism, readily aimed and all set to trir::?:er» 

We do criticize. To the day that we die undoubtedly we'll go on criti- 
cizing people. If we were to turn this session together as we come now for an 
encounter with God in this place into an old-fashioned testimonial meeting, we 



-Give and Take" - II (2) 



night be surprised by the number of people who would stand up and confess to the 
amount of criticising that they've already done today! 

— the people who criticise other members of their family for 

being late and not getting ready in time, at least to their 

liking , to get off to church on schedule.,... 

■ — criticising perhaps the way the teenager drove the car 

on the way to church this morning .... 
. . . only God knows how ranch of criticism has taken place already this morning be- 
fore you came to this place. 

How I am in duty bound to remind you 5 as well I should at the very begin- 
ning, that this g'HTWHi has a text, as all sermons should have s and the test is 
recorded in the 7th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew., the first verse 
-- Phillips translates it this way; 

5 'You, w ill be judged by th e way you criticise .others . ' ' 
Now that isn't something that I've conjured up this morning, taking my own 

defence against people who take pot-shots at me — heaven forbid I - I don't drag 

into this pulpit ray own frustrations, nor should I feed a congregation with them! 
Tills tesit happens to be the word of our Blessed Lord,, and I ask that you give it 
earnest heed because sometimes we forget that there will be a Day of Judgment. 
Sometimes we forget it because we want to forget it. We don't want to think that 
eventually we will stand in front of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as we stand in 
front of Him He'll draw a dividing line? on one side 5 to use His figure of speech., 
will be sheep.... and on the other side will be goats - ~ on which side of the 
dividing line that lie draws will be those condemned to outer darkness , as He puts 
it, and those on the other side will go to be with their Heavenly Father. I am 
constrained to remind you that there is such a thing as Judgment. 

I am constrained to call to your attention that every time we Lutherans cose 



.;-:•:- _ _ - '-Jig^ „ : "•.-. C*) 



.-..., ether for an encounter in God's House, 9mm% other things we stand ana recite 
the words of an ancient Creed in which we refer to trie truth that Jesus will coiae 
again $ and when lie corjes again Ha x/iii .judge - ~ none of us will escape it...., 
that's basic Scriptural Christian teaching. The te:st this morula! reminds us 
that when lie judges us 5 He will take into account the way we criticise other people. 

Let ; s ask the question: Way do we critic ize? How don E t coroe back at once 
at : :.' say s just because we're hur,,ian. That answer is a true one„ of course. 
but it can also be an escapist attitude, as though we can be excused from it. I 
think we can validate sons of the reasons why we criticise ;vm. go reyj-H, t'.:r. -..ji'.'Vt 
of saying, well it's just hunan to do it. 

- ~ soaetiaes we criticize because we have such a passion for x<rhat If 
right, and we're offended by people who fall short., that we're 
quiek to respond and to react — by their xaisdeiseanor or their 
taisbehavior ■— that we're inclined at once to speak our piece, 
because something that we cherish and soraething that we uphold 
is being either Ignored or being abused. . . . 
...this is one reason why we criticise » and is our criticising of other people , 

.Harems another reason why I think we criticise s because we feel that 
we're not giving earnest attention to what's going on unless we respond as soos 
as we can. I aa impressed as you are with - - say the President of the United 
States aakes a major address . . . no sooner does his face fade from the tele- 
vision screen until there looms in front of us the coxafflamtator or the panel -of 
escperts who siake a living s we say by eosamenti.v >at tkat f s the other tero. for 

criticising. no sooner does the mm, the journalist., the reporter, the news- 

paneraatij get the advance copy but what he sits down isamediately to put to work 
his critical interpretation of wk; .; I ..bout to be said. And we think that we s rc 



"Give and 'Jake" - II (4) 

less than involved, we're less than concerned, unless we exercise the role of 
the critic. I think that's one reason why we criticise, because we want people 
to know that we do pay attention, and that on the basis of what we know and our 
own experience* we have something to say s constructive or otherwise, 

I think there is another reason why we criticize. We criticise sometimes 
because we're rather proud of our virtues. We permit ourselves to believe that 
we're in a position to pass judgment , and so from our vantage-point of having 
accursulated some merit, we don't hesitate to speak our piece because of our 
righteous —- self- righteous attitude, that is. wot a very commendable reason * 
honestly now. 

And would you believe it 5 there's still another reason that some of us 
might be able to say we criticize, because we're not as virtuous as we'd like 
to be s and just because we're not as good as we'd like to be, we criticise other 
people because in calling attention to their weaknesses we focus attention away 
from our weaknesses. 

I once knew a woman who was very good at this. It was almost an obsession 
with her, to be forever talking about the faults and weaknesses of others,, and 
she gained a measure of security in doing so because all the while she was doing 
it she was deliberately focusing your attention away from her weaknesses to the 
weaknesses of somebody else. 

How let's stop at this point and ask the question; Since we do criticize, 
and for whatever reason we may validate our criticizing of people, is the re such 

a thing as Chr is tian criticism? which is simply to ask the question J Dare a 

Christian criticize other people? vlell, as always we go to the example of our 
Blessed Lord or His followers. Did you pay attention to that second Lesson that 
was read today - - the Apostle Paul was criticising a congregation for being less 
than what they should have been. ... there was dissention among them, and he says, 
"Dissension does not become the community of Christ," 



"Give and !a!ce ; ' - II (5) 



As I read the pages of the. ■. :. : •.■:estans«fc, the Gospels in particular —• — 
now brace yourself for this! — I heeooe increasingly impressed by the amount of 
time that Jesus spent in criticising people. IK that He was obsessed with the 
role of a fault- finder, but He did expend a great deal of His energy in telling 
people what was wrong. So I suggest to you this aoraing that there is such a 
thing as Christian criticism, and there are tirses idien a Christian is in duty 
bound to criticise. So maybe it isn't so jaueh the question, "should I or should 
I not criticise? as it is; liow should I criticise? now should I .dish it, out? 
How should I lay it on the line? - - - what is the ::-a nner that becomes the Chris- 
tian? 

I want this sermon to be as helpful to you as I want it to be to i.yself , 
and V':x geiag to suggest certain guidelines now. 

One is this:. jfog_n_a Christian criticizes, let his .j^^o ^JUglggJgtoaJa 
the contest of love , for love is the supreme virtue of the Christian. It is the 
distinguishing characteristic. Said Jesus Christy ' : 'Tais is tf commandment that 
I give to you :) that you love . . 

3ow let me give you sy own personal definition of love; To love is to 

m eet the need of a nother pe rson which is sinply now to suggest that man you 

criticise, criticise with the understanding as a Christian that you want to meet 
a need in that person's life., and in the spirit of love you offer that criticisv... 

It's not easy for soae of us. Some of us speak our piece because we have 
hostile feelings -•- not a gracious attitude — > but because we're embittared 5 or 
hurt, we have been crushed. Then we justify laying the other parson low. The 
basic guideline for a Christian when he criticises is always that it's dona with- 
in the contest of love. 

The second guideline that I sight suggest to you is that when you're inclines 
to criticise;. hol&.-your..-£ira-uafJL^ - :; 



'. Give and Taker - II (6) 



ZSHJSS&t. && d «*•• indeed is tuat person who when he is prone to criticize, gives 
the other person a chance to give his view of the situation before you speak. 
It's always a salutary thing, all other things being equal, to have somebody else 
sise up the situation from his point of view. 

I took myself to task last night. I happened to be viewing a certain tele- 
vision presentation — I cane on midway in the program, and I thought to myself, 
why in heaven's name have they ever cast that woman? — why have they invited her 
to speak? There was something about her manner that irritated me. And then I was 
absolutely brought up short and suffered a measure of chagrin when I learned as 
the program concluded that she has only four months to live. She was speaking as 
a dying woman. Hold your fire, my friend, until you have all the facts before 

you then you're in a better position to offer criticism. 

A third guideline, if you don't mind*. Offer it a s tactfully as you can. 
Tact in this sense is just another word for being gracious. I can give you several 
examples, I suppose, - - only one will suffice for the moment. I have a brother- 
in-law who says that you might come upon a woman who has unattractive facial fea- 
tures, but you don't walk up to her and say. ; You have a face that would stop a 
clock. - - but rather you could say 5 "When I look into your face s time stands 

. . . and yet I'm inclined to suggest to you that I have a friend 
who also says 5 ten years of being tactful can also laake you a liar, and I don't 
know which is the greater sin. 

But on the other hand, jfet me go on and suggest to you that there is such a 
thing as liming, in offering criticism. Be very careful about this. There are 
some times when the last thing in the world that you want to do is to lay another 
person low — it just isn't the right time. And maybe as over against that you 
and I must master the art of preparing ourselves to offer the criticism, which is 



' • Qiv'G and Take :! - I I ., '. ' * 



also to say that taaybe we need to prepare the other person for the criticise that 
we s re going to offer. Attitude and approach are both very, very iii^ortant, be- 
cause you sustn*t forget that waen a Christian criticizes, he criticises because 
he wants to help the person and he wants to see the situation improved. That's 
the only justification for Christian criticisn — • that the situation sight be 
I roved. 

It's a shaaae that all of us can f t begin life with at least twenty years of 
experience. Ellen, I B d like to believe that Vu a better grandfather than I was 
a father. For the years have taught tae when I look back., that there ware titaas 
when I should not have hounded, when I should;, to use the old tamer 7 s expression, 
•''slackened the reins" - for those of you x*ho could appreciate that 3 it aeans sita- 
ply: ''"Let up a bitk : There are times when you ought to skip a day or a week in 
hound i-.. the kid who doesn't keep his roots as tidy as you'd like to have it kept. 
There are ti^aes » I presume, when the person who is being criticised is justified 
in turning and saying-, 'For once would you get off ay back! ; Maybe there are 
times when we have to hold our fire and we have to wait a bit., bearing in aind al- 
ways that Stum a Christian criticises, h» criticises with the hope that the situa- 
tion might iraprova. You will be judged •» honestly — by the way we criticise 
others. 

Jean Paul Satre said 2 "Hell is other people" — roeaning of course that they 
irritated hita, they annoyed him — - it would be a lot better if tliay weren't around. 
But they are around. And they're not always exactly as we would like them to be. «■> 
and we're not always exactly as others would like us to be. 

And the final word about criticizing, the last guideline is this: that when 
we criticise, we~crTtic£«» '«i» "«&e eiawKTfeo "aaj©tli«r. iJhich laeans x?e don't criti- 
cise proudly •-•■- we isay corae dmra heavily but we cor.se doxm as those who are humbled 
in the sight of Go.k> ».,»», .now you think about these things , even as I've given 

. -,:;elf the same assignment. 

(This serosa transcribed as recorded)** t 



Sersaera - Pasts? Ezgsmd Sbahaaa 

Tha Presaafc&tioa of Gar lard . February 2» r Iff 



"aBUTlffBR ¥00 



GRACE, M^r&y aad Paaaa fsosK God 
®nv F&fchar ana* £ r©» Bis Sea Jastsa 
Cferlat» our Blaaaed tord» Areaa* 

Lee ®s bagia £hla $msmn fey aafciag yoo a q«®stioa s a quascioa payksps 
that you didn't ssspaet asa to raiaa. Tha qaaatiea is straply this: Tall «a 

bosses t iy , „1^SS^_^,S^'SsL-1SH£'5^sS Jll;'iM.»22^-^lS s EiSSi*.^^MSSi. 

Th&re is ao qoaetlon la ?ay miod feat «foat •aaa sx yoa did cane hart to- 
day ascpeetlag fee fiad God. t T e atatea swab a* £ka faet that: occasionally %ih<m 
tlss aasGaaaaaaats s£a mada — trail is g«s sc^sfcliiag iifca tfatr-t that fclmr* 
ara saaa of us alio feaap marking fcha paeh a&at leads to £hia place baeaisaa we 
honastly baliava «ha& hara it's nada aaalax to think tha thoughta of God. . . 

» . s?<a call this God* a Sanaa 

» . %m rafar %q nvary oas ®f you «s*s Gssd 9 » aaoala 

, , wa r&f&sr to afeis day as s&a Lord's Bay 

, * -if© rstfer £c this «3*?sr»& aa tha praaehing of G©a*a Word 

, . s^ safes' feo th« anthoaia and tha kpaas as tha ssiagimg of Gad* a pralaa 
...,ao thara'a a© question about it praauiaafely , tmt you'va coma hara «g*;ay 
rgspa«£it?g ee £iad Gad. 8a* tihare do yoo axpaet £o find Sod eosarrot? s»ratog? 
Only a vary fav of you wine ex* prasant right now (fill ise sto^iag ap hars* for 
understandable raasoaa, tomorrow morning. 

Socio years baak* X rawaaaex It wall, the Roaaa Catholic Church axpar&aaat- 
ad is France with What they eallad the "visiter - Priest Jk^amsms." I ressca^^ 
so well afcaa I first fcouk that trip ee £aropa» «feaa i : o:;: $Ma-aad»a-*half wm&kis 
y , aara stodylag ©pSxitisal valuaa la ^aaears Saropa cul£ura r o® arras^ad ao 



.'■ .,; ' " '■■■ . . ■ ■ '■•' 

fes^s & distlagalahadl Jaaait. tha aditor of Che largest; aaWspaper of its fciad 
£a tha Kotnan Catholic Cfeorch In Prance, apeak to ae< And thossfe twenty-some 
yeara Ego hs said to an that In lo©kad upoa France aa a. pagan country, that 

tha necessity and the intensity ao great £0% th© Christian witness that would 
ssatsh perhaps eho sas® intensity and necessity that wa give It when we send 
is £0 6s«sa folk in so-called foreign lands. Is o^ser a© bring a. creative 
thmet m the witness to Christ's s^&g. the Essays Catholic Church allowed 
priests to work in industry, act to wear thsir clerical garb bat to wear the 
garb of a sogfes?* in tha machine shop* tha factory, tha textile plant. 

As American pastor heard ahs»«t this ead @o h© made a trip to Franco and 
fe® said t© a worker-priest , "fell ma, how *!© yea do itf S*d Ilk© g© intro- 
duce God to Araericaa industry." 

I don't know how (fed would feci -rfjea soss&ody ra^to a restart Ilka that. 
iiare we hoaaatly believe s&ftt %?« ax* ao insensitive fcs what God is that Be 
mis so be laeroducad to ©mx part of Ells Kingdom ««sk sjfeiefa H© thinks that 1® 
already hae dominion azsd sovereignty? til use, are yoa a* aaeng thoea 

sfeo mke a sis take la believing tha? Sod Is to be found only. ay ta who 

gather in a particular place at a g* rtiesilar ftlras on a particular day for a 
pareietslag- purpose? 

Don't get ssa wrong ~ - l make such of that ayself, feafe I don't ^aat 60 
ever euccumb &© tha error of aatlfciii ay oaa of jmz fee baliava that this la 
tha only plae* wh*v* Scd la to b* fa sad., .or that God As fc© be sena sd....or 
we're to b® sads aware ©2 Sed nsaly - ; % s^ik about religious things. Arch- 
bishop Tauapla, that g^sad ®sd ae!:; -' . ot :3aglaad of a dseade ©r ee ag©, 
Epas a&TClatslT irig&g; ^fc« a fea sboste ■ ona respl':- •.-;■.■ ■■;.v::;Ua;s ■.•■;■ .• ■;> .," ':^ ? E3f*fe 
loader a, ©hess fes» said that «©d Ms s tot of othas thiaga is %f&i«h He's £atate« 
aatad hmU® K^Hglonu 'Sail se® 3 «hara &® 7 m ssspeet e^ find Sod — £«jm©»ro^f 



Hoadsy - Vasad&y « Wsdnaaday - SiKsafaday - Friday - Ssewrd^y - t 

You ought to kaow why l ? 'f« oews® fee s??is aaersd dssk as? ©peak to yea £a 
this vsi® today. 2hse t<ssst h&» boon en lay s&ad fiosr «$»$ t&aa. But tha appsro* 
eiatioa S«ir? fefea test was triggsvsd anon w$taa tha ot&sx STOnlng 1 listaaad ova? 
a local ft? chasawaS, £© a special pvegsan In which gosss of tha mayors aha hava 
i«@a la ^oafaraoca Is ftashlagton war* sated to spoak. 1 Xisfcssaod a© sack ©f 
Sham is, torts* and Z £fcis& it r«as tha Mayor of 3©tr©lt «ho said aooathiog to thia 
affaee* "fan arc wsoag If y©» beiiava that Uaeroit is m& aaaj^t&oa* Sase «h© 
ooaneatators bring you £k® 'bad safe's - - ao saany laid off at Chry8i«r.,.»s© «*ay 
laid off at W©td »•••• so saaay laid off at Gaaaral Motosrs. Mm m&fh®. ^© 8 r© a® 
diffassat thm any ©tha* past of tfeo oowaSify* For jcbiaasaasB and ananploynstit 
is a aafefe»aal probiati • « . " lad wa e r« talking a gsaat da&I tibmm. it, fm 

kg®®. IzJ® tha ooa thins <*■* aaaaa to ©asaspy ouse tiaa vara than ■asythiag sis® 
®sasj«pt p&sfe&pa inflation. With ®pol&gim t® Gartro&a Stain — "A job is? a job,, 
is a job,, ia a job . . M Bttt a ja& is *imm as»r» ao psshape than whan thara 
las.* e a job* 

Unfortunately* thoaa of u& z4w> Xlve in tha natropolltsa asaa &S feb© laei«a ! 
Capital, ax® toawsiajsid so a degrea . For zk& tsose part tk^ras&stt ®asploy«!«8 havs 
a sttssore ©f security and job stability — ■ for eh® tgoas pars;.. Bat ®mz through- 
out tha fees of this tend £.fesF«3 s?a people •aheso Ufa-sty! a ?sae to be dafissitaiy 
altered becaoaa thay ham bmm. laid off am? ':a:;;;? : -.;-<a no assurance wfe.?s& they 
migfea bs hired again. 

Kow I haven *t ooaa to this aaarad dank tibia aoroiag ko «»k thsa ysisa baeoaa 
laliy aaaaltiva to wm-if®Mm*^ vx to ahara u&s gri«f of thoa« who safes' 
ta ©^ is, B^e Z km& bosm this ?^ssiSs?g to ask vx.^ h©» long S.^m h<k®8. siiae® 
yoo*va eoaaidacad all i . tha basic cabriatiaa ^biiSoaophy ragavdiag wos?k. 

: ^ S ' : - ' ;:,; ^^ ^'■■■ ; -"-^ ■'■ ■■ ■■ 'w ; :>'.:^ i":".': ftfc.''; %ag thing y.v. ^sz *m eiha Cniristias ia 



' 



eoacesra®4 B when be thiafee of hi* day's work, It s,ot iiw much he soxtss* Thare 
ere sees poople who go lata a particular lis® eff work because «2 ft&a vzzrmms^*-' 
tion they &&m ss|see&*.»»tfeawft are sens seepl* who change vocations l>®csau3@ 
they hove reason £® fe^ii^v© £&et this vocation might pay hatter tfesjs the 
other* tflsh all the etreagfch thai 1 coa coggsand, while la these days va talk 
about th® fact that people ore being laid off end ttee© is a© salary cheek ®&" 
pasted «• - front the (&ristlaa standpoint* difficult as it aay b« to appreciate 
■ : : : ; asK?,, £ha bfg tfaiffg abou^^a , , 4 |g r i f »..fw^.. l |S, «|i .SDfflPMM ffi ^ , ^ f^, T f^|$r 

at , the end of the period* 

T&*«ps$ are soma sdeeoaecptiens about' ?«ssfe to which the Christian ought 
always to address himself. Shot's one of then. 

%hs second is this; That u®l@©s a nan beBasssa to be deisg church works 
: '.:'. :: '. ;:,"■';■ ^.-milf d©fe? ;■■ wv / .•■•s;-*.,-, ':.".;•• ..; ; ,iv '-.';;■.>'.;-■ d /.^w^Ic'IIt -t'A ■,-,■■: '■-■:, fro Sf?ri, t ; fe' 
Church, you know, spates %ie%okee> The Church stakes ^iateliss beceuee la's wads 

■ ::•• p*;vr--;; ■";,=■. ^sk .k; ;■:■■.«;• a; .4 '.£■:>«>» -- -' •'-;;: S'..i»' %;-vav *»f:..4urlee the 

Church want on allowing people to believe that ?s&lssss soacone beseems a prim?, 
— that io s ci »«k sre s slater i?:. * ^^ft':-'^S. • ■' e- -l^-^.-^vy ■■<■-' tasissw ss: ;;;■&. .as 
baeassa a candidate for H®ly Orders, ■ just wasn't doing <3©d*s work! 

Bless Htartln Luther's soul, he eons along and epr'-jv :' i-M* lis e& efeas 
It's one of ftfe& grees bleeelngs «3ia£ eesn with the Protestant R^ossistion* 
It wss Masrtis. Lather isffea's supposed fee heva said that a shoo-repait who 
feefcee ear© ©f 8ho®;s end (ie-%@ bis s does a ??ot& s® sacred In the sigtit 

of Ood as "4se priest eho stands eith folded ~km&x before fila® alces*-: S© It's 
".-:: is ". ■w )tion regarding wsri: If fou Ink you ar-sj not doing 'aswrk pieasisg 
■. . G*M s s sigk*: f^.l<K,'v) f©s >,:.;v.;y. ; ■:;> K.-.S ? iiasdi'kiSe "os* Holy Orders. 

!**« also a aelseoasceptiotl rs5gA:?4:ls:j -:^sk, ; ■ :^ ; .;.: ■■;.■•,:.■; ; :'•'. '.:/.,. ''.^Um is 



. : . ■ ' . 



eoaeeraed, time it's the I*rd*s work only when you can give special attention 
to it, and by that I amn « spetttal anstatt ©f your ©tos, xhertt are ©am® folks 
who a^s always thinking fe®£ later ^ e h*y will ib® eels to do the Lord's werl& 
.....but in the ma an t iwe fed 9 ® gfefeg you health mi strength, sad a te&is* - - 
jg Be no. less wanting froa von now! 

Ton know very wall, ssy friaad, feat Josus Christ lived to efea <&g® o£ S3 
- - o&ly three y«t, of that period was spent is praschiag, aad teechiag. Froat 
twelve to feirty, want was H© «£®isig Hum? %a has* reason ts believe £h&£ He 
*>m a earpeator, writing eBkLe-da«p is wsod shaving*... fitting a lintel, eneing 
« yoke around eh« oxen's neck, . , . .handling a haauer and a saw — for eighteen 
years! - - thirty years? of ag« wh.es Be preached Mm first sersaeel fes Be Mm 
than options a© God tap until fete sg® ©f thirty! It's a Blaeoneaptiea that ws 
have regard&ig work, frees a Christians standpoint, if we allow ourselves fee 
believe that it has to fee done in a spseisl relationship to religion as «a 
think ©f it i& an tostitotioaalig@d ®$m&® 

Smm of yon hava been to that very fine building on Riverside Brtva in 
.feay York City where there* a a wood earvfag. It h&® a® faces of at least 19 
different people, Who represent 19 different walks of life. And each, z dare 
say, represents a kind of a bain. And underneath arc inearthed tfesas® nerds, 
which constitute the text for today*® m?:w^nt 

"Mi%$&gBg£JiBLj®^# ^tt ■ ■■■■ 'he qUmt of God , , - 1 
.^asd only ©se out ©f tfe©0® 19 depicted there happens to fee ® pTOachsrl 

Y©« ®r@ to be fto n — nded that yen*ve eon© here to Had God* J should fee 
■'Ksppoiatad indeed ee one charged with the responsibility of the worship serv- 
ice if yon did not have that encounter. If I know the aind of God aright, and 
If 1 fazm the ffiiad ©f a salting world, they will h® shortchanged if coasa Men- 
morning God eaanet ba sKperienced in the market place... in your of flea.... 
on the street where yea live. 



» '■ ■ • ' 



polae 1st «© quote foe you that famous pas&gsraph of 
■^■:--^& &.-S,s.«?, is v&lsi* i-c mllm a&©-c« ehasro s Christian should &® giving 
widancs ®f what ha haliavas; »s afe&iy argun that ths cross fee raisad op 
sigala s£ th& «©at*S' sf sag , 3 - 1. sk tha stespl© of tha 

church- I an vaeovsrlng ete alals that Jasw® was not crucified Is a cathe- 
dral between two candles, hut on a cross between two thievse; oa &h« toam 
garbage hasp; at a cw>sar©ad?j so cosmopolitan that thay had to weis® his 
title is Hebrew, la Latin, in Greek - - 5 at the fcfel of place where eyatea 
talk ssmt 3 asd thieves ears®, aad soldier® gas&le. Because that im *ffe<asrs Ha 
diad. Affld that is what H® died about » And that is where eharchaen should 
fee sad what dwetitemsi should fe@ about . , M 

Plaaaing £a the sighs of God ie u< t that you should eoras here to 

find Hiss today, ths ©eh© of tha voice from Hassans so it ®@®^s to ssa e is 

**»*®n\y j'3'ii iK-ii'^ •:;!?■-: ■?:':, Mr so efeas question. 



transcribed &© recorded) 



Samoa - Faster B&fmmi Shehasa 

1foe..5fraa8fi^atiea of Qm h&rd tfshruary 9* 1975 



"gZVIHB PSESFECTIVE" 



QUIET ens' sdads sad hash ©ssr @eul»» 
God, asd sake us ready for what 
is about to follow* Through Jesus 

EX. yXA.-EXX... -X^.X:-X,EX,E:- X\-:X,:: 



Last evaa£ag„ as Is® asad I are wost to d© on ©eeaa£©»» the assistant 

Pastor aad I sspeat a few quiet wgmm&m is Shis ®£5pty ehurefe. He d@ it by 
deliberate dess£ga„ t© condition ©sssrselwe© for «hat God expects fsross as as 
togafchar sf® salads ter to ye© ©a 4k® Lord's Bay ■» <=> wittingly or uswittisgly 
to try to adjust em fchiaking a© t© vfeat say fes yeas £rss@ of ssisd %?h®a 
y©u e«a to G®H*® HSH&sa and kwa this divine asacouatsrj, the liks of «h£ch 
doe* not occur anywhere ®Is®« 

As we walked froa this piss® shsoldar to shoulder* heasrti to heart, he 
reflected ©s the fast that is ths Calendar ©f ssfee Church this year, this 
Saaday hsppaa® t© ssrk s&® fesasfiguraeioa &£ our Blessed Lord. fey what 
scsa of you ss&y not te«s?* heretofore the fraetafigaratioa of $mw Blessed Lord 
was celebrated ©s August 6* How wish the rsvlsed Calendar of she Church fear, 
it 9 s introduced sh® Ssaday before Ash ifedaeeday. 

there eve s®8£©b© ©£ course shy sM® ha® seen doae» sad X 3!y8<Bi£ would 
b® less than honest II I didn't tell yon that S*m happy indeed that it's &<§®a 
r@~l©cat&d is the Calendar ef the Church, that it does cose today. Bs«aus*s 
as we anticipate tha Leataa season to are raa£ad£s;< ourselves that Lent is 
asant to &«j a ties staa w® mdlmz m sister before upon the a&tur© aad the 
quality of the life of Jesus Christ* when w«s concentrate upea tfeg kind of 
person H© was wfeil® So lived here oa sastfc s aad specifically oa the unique 
thj|gg^hat_Hs jgld ..for us £a the redeaptlva imd that took place m>. Calvary c s 
hill. 



- jV^V •_,-.;■. ,'^ v i • ^ vV; 



When I stand back and look at Jesus Cerise „ I* a iKps*se®d of course by 
wmy thing®,, as you ar© isspresscsd by aany things. How for our purpose Efeia 
aoming, ©as of tha things that inpressee as is that He wm wm®z 1®&& than 
Sod. Ha ^«ss always equal to say occasion or event » no aatter hew untoward 
the elxesmstas&c&s asight ha. Ha could issat it heed-aa. I can readily uadar- 
stand why a writer in cha Kaw T®s£as2sat 9 loekiag bask upoa Hla, would aay: 
m Xe him all the fullness of God was pleased So dwell*" 

Bat Srfaat alao reminds m that H«a wm vssy hmmt. It 5 3 during this se&» 
sea of tha year that we prepare ourselves for Holy Weak, wise® *?® think ©f tha 
way Ha suffered tha way Ha was hvnUlatad, tha way Ha deliberately sacrificed 
Himself in Hie death. 

Mew 5: waat you cs aaderataad m® things that kind of life just doass't 
happen. Jasue Qbutimt did not dmp down fross tha heavsas fully fashioned. H® 
lived h&re oa this m.szh 9 and gsrew* developed, and s».tusi:ad ■>„.*<. 

...and as you leak at that life, yeu dimc&v^ that on ©ceasiora His 
patieaca wa@ tsriad....but Ha save? suseuafead completely to 



...as you look at Eia llf@ 8 thsr® war* times whan Ha was tempted 

• . .hut Ha agwss? gro* way e© aisaisg . . 
...X do ■well to xres?iad say self hoar ©a ©ecaaioa He'd alums t lash out 
agaiast His disciples — rather £s?«a©iy new, not reakl<s®sly hut 
rather fraaly — ■ I s 11 imtarprot for yets sosss of the passages 
of Scripture whae Ha's talking to His disciplaa - - 

• . Have I b<mm, ©o long with you and ysu still havas s t caught ©n? M 

• . &<m can you ha ®@ alaw-wittedf How east yosg fail to coster®- 

head what 2 have basn trying to tali youf . . " 
" , . After all this tim e why is it that you dos 9 t nave «ay faith?" 
....that's the kind of talk that Ha gave t& then ©a occasion. 



But saark you» H® novoi' s»a out ©f patleaee. H* atill stuck eitft them. 

Md «T«a on Sfc® irery ©igfct ift «&ic& He wss betrayed » when «**sfc r&aeal 
of a -ladaa broke, bread with His, Be never «s© nock ss ©a£4 ta Judas: 
"Get ©««; ©f hs-raf - - I een't stand sia® sight ©f yea! 
- - Y<m sa&s as® ®i«sk 9 to think SM£ sy laweetaettt &» 
yon would turn ©u£ like thiol Of all 6he night* whoa 
you ehould fe# agound "- - - g«&i 
Ah, Ha never talked Ilka th&i* Been as that wry sight Mm included Judoo 
Xseariot in eh© cotapaay with ail th* root. 

Hs s&sv©r r<a» ®«& of ^@. Hs never son out of patience. Ho never loat 
the divisa paropeetitas. And I'm enggectlng t© you with all fes etrengtk thas 
X ooa eonaosd, Urn juet didn't got stfe@t woyl Eo tonoiaod that way Meats®® Be 
kept Rlseelf finely-honed to eh® tainge of tho ®pis$&c And on thio Bmid&j 
that sarka tha transfiguration of our Bloeood Lord, wo are told that to went 
up into eh© Mountain to pray - - this 1® did again m& agaia* ©f neeoooity, 
ghat H© laighe not looo Hi® oonoo of value*..., to put it is tho jargon of tsday. 

How having said all of tnia> 2 want to toil yen that I eaae aerooo a 
word yesterday that's alssoat bread new for oa. I shacked It out in the dic- 
tionary tfeio noralng. Freaanably it's b««s» around for @®m tine* ho» long I 
don't know, feat it's naecHnon la w& vocabulary, X sbpp©!8© boeauoo I*« novnr 
about to buy ©a®. Si: safer? to an instrument. I don't know that X s&a pro- 
nouneo it esrractly for y©u» I'll try to renoafear tho pronuneiation .ferns tha 
dictionary that 1 *aw tale noralng, hv& lot sss spall is for y«u« §»& of ys-a 
nay laskadlately reeo&ilse it: tacMatoscope. 

Shy 4® I mention it? It's a good sp&sseiaa,, Sara* a my answer. 
X mention it boeauoo I em troubled by what the use, or r s more 
i sneretely tfes salsuaa, of skis inetruemat €«a do m you and ss sss* For c^ 
fsrpsps this ^©saiagp it 8 ® a film ^©Joeftge ssaJag a high~»paed abutter fehat 



- ■.;. .... _ ;'.i>. 



. 



flashes mmmgm, win told,, every fi*# second* at I 3/1000 of a ©©send. 
So vfcetf you a®y„ &all 9 it's psmttag itulf sasst affective is subliminal 
influence, wfeieb is quit* a thing th«»® days. 

60 ahead s say it aloud — you 8 r® asking yourself, wall «ghet 9 @ the 
preacher driving at this sse>miag? 

...wall this is what tfeay ase afela £0 do in these day® of the 

sass ssadia ecsBe*aa&c&t£©ffi - «- t&ay projaet a ©©rias of inagas before 

our ayas e and then i® a vary subtle way <&» appeal is »d© to our 

subconscious, that by tha m® of this iaetruaent it*s what we don't 

sea that makes its isaprasgio®, 
Sew quits fsraskiy, this we© triad out ia a sia°weeks $ test by soski popcorn 
people. Shay devised the impressions » and without a ma bsiag swar® ©f it 
— sow get this! - - before the impressions war® being made upon his missd 
with this instrument fe@ was©' t thinking at all is terras of popcorn. . . . .and in 
a vary subtle way 9 by tfease subliminal Influences, the first thing he knew 
he was hungry for pepaera, sad that? sale© increased 57.7 %, 

lima whan I rasd shoot this, I s-aid to uf&mlf , if it's possible in this 
day and ©ga to so manipulate s*e and to cos aa that they can control ag? physi" 
eai appetites, what*e going to fespp-sa when this «as be dona with say sense ©f 
values! And lo md behold, the vary next magssiae that 1 raad touched %mm 
that very subject! 

Xhare's such a thing as sag anchor-point which constitutes the base of 
your thinking regarding your values. Here*® the spectrum of what you believe 
is right sad wrong, good assd ted.. . Than somewhere between the >fcwo is what wa 
now refer to as aa aneher-point. New by the manipulator, ha can so neve that 
anchor-point without year baiag ®&d® aware of it, so that finally yeu ar® so 
eoaditioaed that what you ones thought was wrosg, new you e@© in varying shades 



■•■ ■ ' ■ ■ . J ■- s 



of grays, <ssd before you know it» you permit yourself to do it, and untiaately, 
they tell ra© s £0 enjoy it, and without any sense of guilt. That* a frightening. 
And that's happening fcoday, 

How you may also say to yourself, haven't w* always been influenced by 
other forces that are &£ work in our lives? Bavaa^t we known soma people 
■ivb-wm personalities have been changed because they havs aocounfcared soai© sgrssg 
dynamic parson? Of course w® have I Kesa*t Wait Uhitaaaa absolutely right shea 
hs asis something about: a child w@&t out to play, and what that child saw baesas 
part of him - - I Bat: shaver perhaps has the conditioning beea s© subtle, a® 
devious , dara I say, .as now. 

Sew why ds X meatioa ii: 1 ? I'm net forgetting that Whan our Blessed Lord 
lived there w©r<,a also pressures 1st His day - - the pressures of & military 
world, the pressures of & political world, tkm pressures of secularism* They 
w,tv. az 'iS&gk £gai»s*t Ii:lu,, A^e if R&. v-:i? ih-v: ^U'"-;w;. ; :y ■.'■.■:.-, >:j>. dfoj v so gefc es/ay 
froa it all g e® withdraw, to meditata, to pray, Co sort out His values, to 
se© that £he reservoir of the spirit continued to be f Iliad. *....»if He saw 
the necessity for it 1b fch&e day, think how much more you and X must s<aa tha 
necessity for it today ! 

That's way I've come £0 this sacred desk this saoraing, to encourage y©« 
t& tr<sfc@ much of the Is«atsa season, which Is s tits® to withdraw, to reflect* ... 
it f s rooted &ssd grounded is th<s divine perspective —-* to take time to ask your- 
self in the uama of Cod: What kind of person mm 2 becosaiag as I confront these 
:::;;•;,; -,:^ li^fl'im-ess oc ay life, day after day after dayl Hake as mistake about it, 
we live is a world that can he branded as a world that embraces pagan values. 
She world a® such does not challenge you a:;d as? to become Christ-like. 'Efes 
world itself is constantly attamptir ;-. i e our valu® system, And again and 



ever so often we haw to dra» away and sp©ad «isas is ©e&rehing eh® Seripturss, 
in praying, is stacking tap ©s« lives against Bis, bo that we might see hew saueh 
of His love m& trash we sefleee s 

Some of ua, I am sorry to tall you, are runaisg out of em: religious capi- 
tal. We have been drawing rsttaer heavily «p©a the investment which out parents 
have mad© in us. We'ra raaaiag out of ©«r religious capital that we built up 
in eh© days of our youth 9 ma we're forgetting Sfesfe we have to invest and re- 
invest eoassteatly. 

feu know the stoxy I tell you a&OBt the little boy who wee ask@d by his 
grandfather* "Hhst d© you want for your birthday thi© year?" tluch to his grand- 
father 5 s surprise, he &&M S "Don't go looking for it in the store* It's very 
simple - - X want the kind of a book that you have in your desk drawer — that 
little book that ysu tak® ©ufc sad you write your tusmt on a piece of paper, yon 

it out and you take it £© the bank, and they glva you saoaey far it -~ that's 
what yes cas give rmJ" B«fi: what the little boy in hi® Innocence did net realise, 
that before you e®n take it oat y©u 5 ve got z® put it. ial 

Businesses fail or suec^&d as they recognise this fundamental principle 
And as fas as the spiritual reservoir of your semi is concerned, you*ve got to 
take time to build it up so when the seed arises f&u can draw on it. 

I Shiak that's one raasos why « r il^essiS Xeord took with Him Peter, J«.*aa 
aa^ John a© the mountain to pray — because ia that experience there was thee 

£■'■ : ' :! '■'■^-"'■-■ : ' .fel'la^: -?t Sii ^:c t{ .. ' -^ J5 : :?^ ■ A " : '- :'"'-- •'••■■■■:■ J- '■^^•'■' -y kS'5'c 

our aosuaats when we see no one eseaapt Jesus only. 

...and is sesisg Him, t!ii;a we live out the days ©f ©«g> years 
facing £fe« ia£iiaeee#§s that ar@ at work against u© s guided sad 
Ailisssd with the light ©f His lov® and of His truth. 



(This senasa transcribed & recorded) 






Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Fourth Sunday in Lent __ March 9, 1975 



ON LETTING JESUS SPEAK 

FOR HIMSELF "I AM THE DOOR" 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His son 
Jesus Christ, our Blessed Lord. 

Amen. 



Schopenhauer, it's said, was one day seated on a park bench in a German 
village when a little girl came up to him and put to him very directly a perti- 
nent question, for which Schopenhauer in turn had an answer-of-sorts . This 
was the question put by the little girl: "Mister — who are you?" - - to which 
Schopenhauer, with a philosophic gleam in his eye, gave only an answer-of- 
sorts: "That's what I wish I knew." 

When our Blessed Lord was here on earth people had a way of putting ques- 
tions to Him. Occasionally they'd put this question to Him: "Who are you? - - 
Where did you come from?" Jesus Christ had no difficulty with the answers. 
He knew exactly who He was. For Him there was no such thing as an identity 
crisis. And whether or not people would put the question to Him, He spent a 
great deal of His time either anticipating the question or encouraging people 
to put the question to Him. And if they didn't put the question, He had a 

habit of saying to people, "I am - - - " and then every now and then 

He'd use a particular figure of speech in His attempt to offer them some 
measure of self-identification. 

Today's sermon, as was true for last Sunday, and God willing, as will be 
true for next Sunday, bears upon the general theme: ON LETTING JESUS SPEAK FOR 
HIMSELF — from the 10th chapter of the Gospel according to John, these words: 

"Jesus said , I am the door . " 



"I Am The Door" (2) 



Now that requires some explanation, doesn't it? Well let me do my best 
to interpret the text for you, particularly as to its setting. He was talking 
to people about the nature and character of God, and then to make it as vivid 
as He could, He told about a man who was a shepherd . . . 

...and the shepherd had specific responsibility for his 
herd or his flock of sheep. Now during the winter months, 
like as not the shepherds brought their sheep down from 
the hills and put them in a communal shelter in the village, 
because they only took them on short sorties during the 
winter-time, if they took them to the hills at all. But 
during the summer months it was different. 

...there, as you might know, they stayed for weeks at a 
time. And when nightfall came, the shepherd would make-do 
as best he could with what he could find as a protective 
shelter for the night. He would not have a readily-built 
enclosure — it might be within the shadow of a great rock, 
or it might be in some area where perhaps there was protection 
on two sides or three sides.... but then, for the opening area, 
what about a door? You see, a door was necessary because wild 
animals could come in at night and attack the sheep. If there 

were a door, the sheep could be protected or, I'm sorry 

to have to tell you this, it was true then as it's true now — 
always the rascal — and there were such things as bad shepherds, 
who might even come and steal a shepherd's sheep unver cover of dark- 
ness the necessity for a door. 

Now with no door as you and I would understand it being available, what would 
the shepherd do? He'd stretch himself out horizontally in that opening area, 



"I Am The Door" (3) 



so that now Jesus could talk about a shepherd who himself was the door. So 
Jesus refers to Himself as the Door, through which a person could enter and 
find security and shelter - - and Jesus Christ even went so far as to say, 
could enter into Life . Jesus said, "I am the door — it's by me that a man 
enters into Life and knows security and knows shelter. 

Doors are fascinating, that is, for some of us. Some of us appreciate 
them from the aesthetic point of view. No matter where we go we look at them 
architecturally. I am much intrigued by the kind of thing that was several 
generations ago, when the master-craftsman would work so diligently to give 
a distinctive touch, by carving and other designing, to his doors. In fact, 
quite parenthetically, do you know that in days gone by the master-craftsman 
would so design the moldings, that is the framing, in the door, the supporting 
part of it, so that when you looked at it it looked like a cross? You might 
discern such features in these doors on either side, or surely in the doors 
when you leave the Nave, so that any man, according to this devout craftsman, 
even when he passed through a door he might remember that because of the 
sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ on the cross, a man enters into 
Life. 

Doors are fascinating, of course they are aesthetically. They're also 
fascinating functionally — all kinds of doors. .... glass doors. .. .plastic doors 
...wooden doors. .. .metal doors. .. .doors that are conventionally hinged, doors 
that disappear within the walls, doors which by the pressing of a button dis- 
appear into the ceiling area of an enclosure. But the function remains the 
same: they divide, they separate. And as one passes through a door he either 
enters or leaves — he finds himself within or without. 

When our Lord was here on earth He talked a great deal about the Kingdom. 
There are two kingdoms, you know, we'd better make that plain: the Heavenly 

Kingdom, or the Kingdom of God and the other kingdom. Now we know a 



" I Am The Door" (4) 



great deal about the other kingdom — we're in it constantly, its pressures 
and its forces are always upon us, its wearisome ways and its wickedness bear 
heavily on us. We know a great deal about this kingdom. 

But as far as the other Kingdom is concerned, Jesus was always talking 
about it, telling us about how wonderful it is inside the Kingdom of God, 
and giving us to understand what some people don't want to reckon with, that 
you're either inside it, or outside it — that there is a line of demarcation, 
and if you please, for the purpose of the sermon this morning, there is a door 
through which one enters into it. And as Jesus spoke about the Kingdom, He 
told about the wonderful things that you could experience inside the Kingdom, 
inside the Kingdom of Heaven - - - peace - - - joy, - - and love - - forgive- 
ness . . . and the security of Eternal Life. And when He spoke about the 
Kingdom, it was always in an inviting way, in a winsome way, drawing us en- 
couragingly toward it. 

Which leads me to tell you two things now. When I go back home, across 
the Susquehanna River that leads into Williamsport, Pennsylvania, proper, once 
the bridge is behind us, within 25 to 50 seconds we're in Market Square. Al- 
most any town, you know, has a Market Square or a plaza. As I remember Market 
Square from the days of my youth and childhood, Dad would bring us kids up 
from Montoursville, four miles away, and there the shopping would be done, to 
outfit us for the fall term of school, or that one spring in particular I re- 
member, when I got that new suit of clothes that I could wear on the Sunday 
when I was confirmed. 

It's about that clothing store that I want to talk just for a second.... 
...Abe Stern, bless his soul, stationed one of his employees on the sidewalk, 
very near the main door into his store. And that chap had only one responsi- 
bility, just to stand there and to give people a smile, a happy face, a glad 

nan d and then rather unwittingly, just to move in the direction of the 



"I Am The Door" (5) 



door. And as they did so their eye would fall on either side of the merchandise 
in the windows, and before they might realize it, maybe they out to look at that 
new suit! There are people who do that — lead people invitingly toward a 
certain direction and toward a certain door. 

It's circus time again for metropolitan Washington. That takes me back 
to a year ago when our Department of Youth Ministry sponsored S aint Luke Night 

at the C ircus so I went along with you, just as happy, just as eager. 

And would you believe it! — it was worth the price of admission for me just 
for one thing. It wasn't specifically to see the bearded lady.... or the Nor- 
wegian giant whose hand was as big as my hip.... nor those cyclists up there, 
way high against the ceiling, who soared as they revved up their engines so 
dramatically. For me it was worth the price of a ticket to see a sign that 
I knew existed, that has quite a bit of history with it. 

P. T. Barnum, rascal that he was, discovered that he had people inside 
one of the tents where he had a lot of curios on display, and people had paid 
the price of admission and they were so fascinated they were reluctant to 
leave. And as long as P. T. Barnum knew they were in there and they were 
not leaving, that he wasn't selling new tickets and getting new admissions. 
So he devised a very clever sign: THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS . Their curiosity was 
aroused by the unfamiliar word, and before they knew it, they were unwittingly 
going in the direction of the sign that said: THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS... and then 
within the matter of a minute they found themselves outside the tent. And 
there wasn't anything there. There are tricksters in life who lead us invitingly 
in their direction, and when we get there, there's nothing. Jesus Christ is no 
trickster. Invitingly Jesus Christ says, "Come — I am the door -- enter." 

The longer I live and move among you, the more I am convinced that your 
desire is very intense for security, and safety. The shepherd knew that for 
his sheep. It was only when the darkness settled in that he could offer them 



"I Am The Doo r" (6) 

this measure of security and protection. Look what we do when darkness settles 
in around here — if ever we make certain that the doors are bolted, it's at 
night. If it's ever when we want a measure of security and peace, it's when the 
day has run its course and night settles in upon us. Jesus Christ says, "I am 
the door — enter through me, and know peace and security." - - - He believed it 
so fervently that He could say what He did: "I am the door, and I promise you 
if you enter through me you can enter into real life." 

I am always saddened by those who offer more than they can produce. It's 
a cheap trick. But for those who have taken Jesus Christ at His word they have 
discovered that He produces, and they enter into new life. The writer in the New 
Testament took this so seriously, reflecting upon what Jesus Christ had said, 
surely, that he was able to say, "There is no other name under Heaven whereby 
we must be saved." 

There are those who take that passage of Scripture and say it's rank arro- 
gance — how dare you Christians think and speak so exclusively? But you've got 
to remember that this is the language of one who is inside the Kingdom, and who 
has found this to be true. We're all in the hands of God, of course we are, 
whether with our belief or with our unbelief - - but for those who believe, none 
but His loved ones know. 

And for those of you who are inside the Kingdom because of Jesus Christ, 
thank God for what you have. And if you're within the hearing of my voice and you 
think yourself on the outside, ask that your faith may be enriched, that you may 
be able to take Him at His word and know the joy that belongs to those who enter 
into newness of life. That's why I can say to you now with all the strength 
that my soul can command: "May the peace of God that passeth all understanding 
keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Amen." 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



/ 
I 
I 



Sermon - The Kav. Raymond Shaheea, D.D. 

Beater Pay - , ... . , it , , , im .._ . , March 39. 1973 



"mam? am leader" 



G2ACE a Mgsey aad Peace from Ssd 

- - - ,. j- , , 

His Sc?b>. s our RssOTi'ected Lord. 



¥s Mds called it the ^.j&uBted house*' It was located en tho. outskirts 
©f thai: 3H5@.iX £®sa e iksd os asy given Saaday afternoon whan the weather was 
right we'd ba drawn toward i£ 5 intrigued, fascinated* We'd approach It 

sil:/;- s>f «";;:''-5rtja . « . sses®££ss<ag we'd walk around ail sides of its ?ie~ 
a© porch* then we*d wait - - - to he frightened. 

, that we did ©a » Sunday afternoon is a s@all town. 
rent ©f something alee to do. 
Or s if 'a 1 © dlda*t head la feha direction ©f the 'haunted house* , w s d wall 
;'&::• ..>■=;;.:-: ".■'•■'•" S-vjky Ki^vy e^.gr:.;! fi : v/xr sm?.l : >: :.;■; :e. -« a-:>'.vir!..?;l:." - t:';' - : ;;-^^ ?=?•<<, te 
place a copper penny ©a the tracks » or a ten-penny nail* ®nd t® wait for the 
mighty locomotive to coa» aad flatten it. $?e were intrigued. 

. • • sfes's what you could d© tm a Sunday afternoon la a 
small town. 
But like as not, th® thing that I reasnher particularly this ssoraing 
■ r how whs . *&gk-5 gather together as a bunch of kids and play "fellow ah® 
sr. 81 Bow the leader happened to h® chosen X don't spit® reaeaifees cay 
, but £ d© remember how we fol* kirn* sad did those seemingly crasy 
ridiculous things, end tried to s satS i - sns, 

» . . maybe he led us through a pool of water 



"Follow m» 1 -£l (2) 



. • . maybe toward eha front part of the porch ex that 

house across the street that was? so invitit3g«...aad thssis 

off to th© side e£ i 
So we followed the leader. 

Why this unconventional introduction t& the sermon oa this Easter Day, 
whan presumably you've eom.e p waiting for the preaefear to talk about th® empty 
tomb? Well I'm not about to do it. I could have given you yoixr choice* per- 
haps s and asked you outright - - which would you rather have,, a sermon about 
"The Knpty Tomb"? - - or & s®:?m©tt about "She Mass Who Hasn't There"? 

X don't kmsar how you might answer, but I ess tell you how tha early Church 
answered. Thay rosily sevssr much concerned themselves about th® empty tomb, 
but they west forever talking about Th©-4l>v: --^ 

Somewhere-Elsec And that leads ma to the test fox this g«rs&e<& today, bsria?: as 
it ssay be. From the Goepsl for the day* the 7th v<srse of th® 20th chapter of 

"lie is not hes*» far he goes bef or® you into Galile e > . " 
Look at it this way, my friend - - evil d id have its day* It did it© 
worst. The world had a chase© to claim Jrasus £hr£s£ as Lord and Saviour, 
and rejected Him. There wssa such a thing as the crucifixion, which is man's 
blatant rejection of God $ but then three days later they found an empty tomb* 

But deal with th® truth fcftsi; lies inherent In the fact of the empty 
tomb. Some of you I know very well get husag up at that point* Tou eaa't 
quite figures out in your own mind how Jeaus Christ could slip out of those 
grave cloths, sad then take on a form again that could be recognised. Aad 
because you can't quite figure that out, you walk away! - sad you don't gat 
tha greater truth* 

Tha 8S ii tea truth lies in th:-: fact that the word that came out ©f tha 



Resurrection harden was: ''He isn't hare — because — Ha is there j How that's 
saot aa fittest for double-talk. The fact of the natter is that we happen to 
have the kind of a God who simply will wot take rejection and walk away. We 
happen to have a God who will not wash Ills ham? a of this world, ao natter how 
we talsht behave. «le happen to have a God who keeps coming sack to as and 
says, "Let's try all over a^ais - - follow aa«" 

We live i» a world that's like a haunted house... 

...we're frightened by the evil that. we mieht sjoc even be 

ehle to call by usaa, but we're frightened. 
We live in a world that's like a giant locomotive that's 

always heeding our way. . • . .about to flatten us out. 
We also live in a woxld that was meant to have a leader- 'Han csartot find 
hie own way, so God aomes back to us. We da not. choose Him as a bunch of 
kids — wo chose cur loader and decided to follow hita. We're not qualified 
to sake the choice of the leader that we need nost. So Sod made the choice 
for as, and lie save us Jaaua Christ. 

Look at it that way , . . and lie says to us after the crucifixion > "All 
•right, we'll be^ln all over Spain - - - follow inc." And would you allow me to 
tell you that just as When we kids played "Follow the Leader/' our leader night 
call aa to do all kinds of crassy aad ridiculous things — can you take it, ay 
friends? - - - Jesus Christ, as our Leader cor*a back to us, calls us to do 
all kinds of crassy and ridiculous things: 

"Follow me" II© says, and look what happens *>e He gess ahead of 

us • , > 

— lie begins to love all kinds of people, including 

the unlovable, &s wa brand shea 

— Ba likes all kinds of people, including the 

unlikaable* as? we brand thai 



'•"■ ■-:/' . "■ . .':,.■■■ .,' (*) 



— He r«xogai*e» the sp&rk of divinity that's down deap 
inside people in a way that w& do&'t 
....and Ha says* "Follow W - « ~ up to ail kiade off crasy and ridiculous things, 
?<*«*£« the learned ones, we're the sophisticates — not about to accept very much 
unless ws can figure it out* Ihen w& g©t stymied as we go through life, but than 
God sands to us His Leader, who hag this crag% thing of a childlike trust in a 
Heavenly Father* who believe* in Hie basic goodness-. 

Any pan who is worthy of the nana father, or grandfather, knows full well 
what s wonderful thiaj* it is ten have a child turn to him and elaqsly truat. As 
we take our way through, life, with this <sw«r~tte&at«raia!», owor-nowwring isachine 
that will toad to flatten us, our Leader says* "Take heart — b® of good eourage." 
.....you have e God '•too knows you ar@ not ra&aat for defeat or despair. 

You wsst to talk about the miracle of Easter? Don't inlsonder stand ate, X 
don't dwell oveaiKuch with the empty tomb. Neither did the early Church. The 
Gospel writers nention it. Bus ones fcfos early Church got its hearings zh®r went 
on forever talking shout ''TitaHMaTHyhe~Was»'t~Thsra~Becsusa-iio^ 
Present'* - - •- she Perpetual Person - - - tho Continuing Companion. That's the 
miracle of Es>®t«r, He's heats. Sots* of you unwistakably have felt His pr«fi«snea 
already., 

And than one* this service is ewer, 3«'ll fa« out ihore ahead of us, waiting 
for you in your home — toaosrrow Morning sat tint for you wh«r« yo» work.. He'll 
always -ho ahead of yoa* sad He'll be saying, "Follow ma*** 

If you ra&lly want to talk aboot another airecls, it's the kind of 
transformation that sats in osss yon taka Hira at Hi® word, stink close to Hisa, 
and keep moving la Ilia directi* a. Xhat'js «;{£« miracle that I've s®sn in soma of 
you. And I list's why seme of you ssak^ it easier for no to believe the miracle 
shiefc is Kastsr* » » . . fills I most Ksrtaial) believe. 

* ft * 

(This am Em tran ■ sr: ',■-.. m . tt c rded) 




_ 



Shebeen 

"ON BEXRG CHRIST-MBiDED" 



GOD, Quiet our mind* and hush our 
hearts find mak® us sensitive to the 

interpretation of Thy tford. la the 
--^- ■■.■'■ -s^^-v:: Christ, who when So 
gampA came preaching. Amen. 



Tell me it does®*?, sake any difference to you that I can't remember 
whether I read it in the Washington Poat or the Sew TcrkJEteae. and that it's 
likewise of little eoasequeace to you whether it was Thursday morning's papssr 
or Fridays . . . hut 1 do remember this: it was a Congressman, a member of the 
House of Representatives from a nearby state, who maintains that this nation 
of ours has a new regard for Congress. Says this Congressman, up until the 
60' s perhaps we trusted our Presidents. But then, sad to relate, we discovered 
Chat there waa such a thing as the abuse of presidential power. Now, says 
this Congressman from D«lawere, the nation is looking to Congress to straighten 
as out. 

Sow relax, toy friend, I haven't come to this sacred desk this morning, 
heaven forbid! - to engage your attention in a dissertation regarding the bal- 
ance of one branch of Government against another, or to offer a rebuke for one 
and then to ask you to look toward another, hopefully by way of challenge for 

is such a thing as th® abuse of power, the abuse of power by every single one 
of us, lest we guard against it. 

It's a very easy thing to direct one's attention Egaiaat the tyraat* snd 
the dictator, the Prima Minister, or the man who had bees President of the 
united States - - and to talk about what they might have done but failed to 
do beceuse they abused their powar. But would you believe it, every single mm 
of us has some position ©f influence - - - every single one of us has some power 



to waild, Lo©k aft it tikis way; moat of us have seas power to use, whatever ©us 
station in life ©r rol* --wdo exercise * measure of influence, some of 
eouns more so then others* And now for the Christian, this is an awesome 
thought s since tha power that a person wields saa ha for aaotfesr p@r*®a e ® 
good, or for his detriment* 

And having said this, 1st m® introduce tha text for this hriaf sermon, 
which directs tha thrust of all that's to follow, and ©11 t&se's already been 
said, Thn taxt is from a latter that £fe&£ samt-meader-turned-preacher wrote 
to & group of Chris times who lived is the Phillppian community. It's the 2nd 



"Lg S felais mind he in you which was 
also in Christ Jesus . .. 



■--. 



...whatever your influence in life way be, let it be according t® She mind and 
the meaner of Jesus Christ. This is *hat a Christian must remember. 

For a number of years I have kept close at hand at say reading desk a 
book that was compiled by that beloved Scotsman, John Bailey. It bears the 
titles, "A Diary of Readings". It was his custom throughout his years, that when 
he read something that was ©f great personal profit, he clipped it, or recorded 
it, and then all of us now draw the benefit of that maeter-mind of his which had 
so great m appreciation for illustrious thought os a variety of subjects. 

On paga H, whicb is the selection for that certain day of the year, ha 
quotes James Martineaa, who speaks to this very theme. If you don't mind, I*d 
like t© give you the direct quotation 

"fbere is a sphere in tha life of everyone, aaseepfc the 
child, in which he is appointed t© rule, and to exercise 
some functions for the methods of his own will, from the 
monitor in the school to the sinister of an eaapire, there 
ere gradations of authority that leave so one withoafc a 
place. Would yes know the real worth of any soul, be it 
another or your owaf "Ease is the sphere ©a which you 
should fix your eye. It is a little thing that a man 
goes right, under orders, when ha is obliged to serve. 



'@a Being ehriflt-Mladad' 8 <3) 



"You may always -sake a good soldier fey auf ficiest 
drill, sad. amid the pressure of custom end beneath 
the light of the public gese, <r<?*a « passive and 

aad wear a glass. But how ia it, with you, la your 
place of power? - - among the servants, whom you may 
govesr© — the children, whom you train — the com- 
panions who placet you at their head? Do you tak* 
liberties there, as if there were nothing to con- 
csntr&ta,, and fling about the circle* as if you 
were free of all the field? So you grant exceptions 
to yourself, exemptions of l&slaess, exemptions of 
:■-.■;-•„,',, ■ xenptlens of truth?" 

So there you have it, my friend. Every eiagle one of us is not without son® 

influence. Every single one of us, regardless of his station or role ia life, 

has some power to wield. 

How it's wary easy for ua to point the finger of condemnation to those who 
ait in high places and talk about the way they abuse their power. V& tickle 
your fancy, perhaps, this morning, if I reminded you of what happened in the 
Dominican Republic, how for mora than 30 years Raphael Laonidis Truell (?) beat 
those people to his own will, hew he even wanted to name £he place after him- 
self, which he did — • that ia, regarding e«rtaia streets aad boulevards — the 
highest peak he chos© to name for himself. Small wonder, his people* sfeer they 
had seen hm he abused hi® power, rejoiced whan he waa assassinated, and within 
three yeera &£ ter hiss 4mmh his name was obliterated from ©very plan* where he 
fead put it. ....and what ia more* they erected a monument at the site of his 
assassination, not only to commemorate his death but to pay tribute to the man 
who killed himi Ton listen with some degree of interest wh©a I point the finger 
of condemnation to *s tyrant such as that, who abused hie power. But how often 
do you «ad t look upon curselves, to ask the question, how properly d© w® us© 
the influence that we have 1 ? any man, 1 dare say, WE«r«w*r he may be, has sosbs 
influence en e&meene else. 

Some years Stack, a well-meaning writer get out a little religious trace 



<J?lla8JtolaeH«ta4t*r t . (4) 

•atltlad: "Making Your Life Count" - - as though <rn.iudt.do It by deliberate 
'^ B5SS ** £iti * * e * *■ **«* *• «* h.lf-rf*h t . The religims@ foM „ 
would have been batter entitled* '^king Your Ufa Cou nt For Good" - , beoauaa 

•^ ^ U ** *« «"**• B '* «**■ *• Apostle Paul. Ut it count for good 
In tha name of Jesus Christ - - lot this be your attitude, It this be 1OT 
aiad, let this bo your tMMMttt of ona another, according to the mind, th. 
aamier end tha attltuds of Jesus Christ. 

Hhethar you Ilka it ar not. Umm Chriat exacts a high standard for us, 
Wing ftoi wll th48t „. ^ ^ lnfluanc ^ ^ thft Apestu paul i ^ > ^ 

your influence, that, ba according to tha Mud. tha manner sad tha attltuda of 
Jaaua Chrlat -~ it la a standard that tha world exacts from «a. For if Chris- 
tians do not behave « Christians, who then will? And if thoa. of ua who claim 
Hla lova and purpose to ba Hla servauta do not walk i» HI. way, who will? 
How very quickly. i«t me draw to your attention tha araaa of your own 
»%al influence* .«. . « « 

- - a cm baa powar area by tha things that ha thinks. Before tha words 
ara spoken - - I have sat in some committee meetings wbara I hava fait 
a dominating influence by a man who never ao much aa aaid a word because 
there wara thoaa of ua in that room who could tall exactly what fe* waa 
thinking. I onca knew a nan who waa ao batter and cynical regarding 
life that soma of u 8 uaed to say that if we .tapped out into the corridor 
five minutes after M had gone that way. we could almost sense by tha 
atmosphere that remained that he had moved in that direction, & rm & 

a by what he thinks evea though the thought may be unexpressed 



- - a man haa influence by the manner by which he enters a room! - by 
*ery psis« s by the sheer forco of his personality. They used to ®ay ol 
D. Eisenhower, that he was tha kind of a mm who when ha waited 



"On Being Carlst-Minded" (5) 

into a room, people began to think together! - - he had a way of softening 

the hostilities that might have been present. There aro people **fe© feav® 
that gift ©f personality and the power that comes with it is ss«um£ to ha 
used wisely and vail , . . 

- - those who have charisma have an endowment which is never ft© be 
abused. There is such a thing, then, ae the power of personality and 
the influence of a Stan's unspoken thought . . , 

- - ©ssd by the sane token there is the influence ©f a man which hm wields 
with the words that ha speaks, That's why som® of us would crawl into a 
feole if we could r , trying to recall a word that we had spoken — would to 
God we had not tittered it, baeause we suddenly realise the influence of 
what we've said apos somebody els®, , .. . *md by the same token there are 
whose for whom. I ris© up and call then blessed because in good sad prop#r 
®®mtm they have spoken the right word with grass and with compassion. 

Let se make this sermon as relevant as I assy for eh@ ssomeat. I sat la a 
cemaiste® meeting yesterday morning »here a van said, "It's a pity - Saint Luke 
is quite a large church now, Share was a day when we knew a number of people 

but new it seems we knew fewer and fewer. ". and then I heard another wms, 

say, that same morning. "Well, if you were in a small church, you'd g®e to knew 
so many people by name. Ass! maybe there's a limit to wnat yen can do by knowing 
peopls by name - - it simply means th&t in a small church you know a certel® 
number, bet maybe in Saint Lu&« it's within your limitation, and also within 
your extension, to be able to know as many people." 

How for the asMse, let me tell you thiss do yeas realise the power that 
you feavae today , in this pla@e 8 before this service is over 9 e© wield a ^«a®sss® 
of gracious inf luenca by what you could say to somebody whom you stay sot know 
by aamef Ethel Anderson, bless has? soul, — sfess's not here this mossing » I 






graeieuely.*«..she atsppad forward aad said fee a person that aha hadn't r«ceg- 
aised, K 2 d©s e £ sfctok I kaew who you are, I dom' t thisk X fea*w your aaaa. 1% 

Ethel Anderson let ass weleoae you to Saine Xtuks • « • w As gsraeioas as 

all that! ' — and the iaflaanae that wsa engendered in the nana of Jeans Cerise 1 
I think a»ts«ftinaa hew thia place c«uld be transformed , en any given Lm&"'® 
Day* If any jwafe«r aaong you would aaersisa the sseasure of grace* and eeneftdara- 
, Sta&e yos could wield la a »ea«r as simple as all that I 
Allow the way Bdaa Satet ¥£aceut Mlllay put it: 



M Thay say aot »ed me, yet they might; 
1*11 lat i&y&olf he just in sight; 

A asdla so snail ss saia« tsay be 
Freclaely their aecaseity./" 

Need I estahliah tha pel's?: fiaally, that every «iagle ©a« of ®& assreisae 

power, net aisaply fey the thoughtK that wa think, the words that wa apeak* but 
also hy the Shfegss that wa do. 

8ald th® Apostle Pauls "Lat this mind fe® ia you which alse was in Cfeeist 
Jesus." ... 8a hut&hied Himself* Is hecassa ohedient.a.Ba 
took ea the few of a servant* • . . • 
What's your powar-satlag* ay friaadf You have obs< But that 'a net 
the teportant ijuastloa. How ar<s yots wialdlng it? - • z® ^has* glory? 



•;; 



■;:':. \.; ^^ 



Sesssea - faster Raywsrsd Shaheea 

ft* 'Pfotf S«*d«y Qjg Zas&er Awil 13. 1475 

- "HOW fO HAWD&B LPLftfLZHSSS" 

(Joka 16:32) 

SS&CE, mB.CZ and 2P«a&® few 
Ged ©ur ?ather assri from Bis 
Son Jesus* Christ, ©or Hisea 

■'■ '''V;vL--- ; S"?;"y!-i. „,„. ,. 

Any pastor worth Ms salt la all likelihood will at om si®® or another 
in the course of tils serscm «®te a stateaeat wick which his eongregatioa* 

granted it has integrity, «f course, may dis&grsa. At seaa risk I ass goiag 
to begin my s®na®a this novaiag by te&Mm 7*»s to consider sonsthiug with which 

you salght ha iacliaed s© disagree at sacs I Hall to?® it iss fa t hle very plana 
•fe-^ig. .MP tine there could be B orneoae who consi ders himself the loaalisat 
^ff & ll ffi lll ,ff ag£ * i « Bsspit* tha fact that you say h« surrounded by fesasdrads of 
people — sight now «~ at this vary aoment, soae one asmg us could tfelafe hira- 
©alf as the loneliest of all people* 

HOw if dil® should sot ha tree now, asaybe you're numbered etseng shose who 
last alght fait hiassalf m leaaely m all s&at.....ar tssyhs before tomorrow or 
tha week is es?©r you'll Ins branding yourself the "l®s&iest of all people. 88 
Tou'li sllssgr©® with t&iss at soae t$x® ©r aaothar you have haea lonely, if 
you are ®s& lonely now. And nost certainly at soae tisa in the future* if 
you've new»r fee?® «shsg loMllaass la, it m>j eat in for y®u. 

That's why fey asUfeaante d®«igs» l*we included in tha ®era®& schedule the 
semen tte ? a shout to ha ©reached, bearing the title,, "flew fO Beadl® acaaUmBaa/ 
Xha text — of course — the raeosded w©sdi8 af ©»sr Blessed tord* the 32ad ver©« 
of the 16th chapter of the Gospel according to Johns 

" You shall leave aa> alc saa," 

&n you tesgte© Jesu® Christ lansating the £mt that He's going to h® left 
aloaef She wry ones shea Be had ehosea to he lis friends, the ones sf all. the 



'»y&jte*iig«§g£ m 



wltt M. *o* ttr« ,«„,. ^ w a, My „ ^ ,„, . . Wn ^ ^ 

fiaa." 



did rotor ftaiy approve. «„ fftss£ £&a£ ^ 

talksd about ssMtfoody doayiag as» 8 f Mt ho 



- - do you s^^ fmr . 8iBgiffi ^^ ^ ^^ 

laessrtot ftaiy oadorsteod whoa s»osr Btog^ fc«d .old, 
w Oas assag ago, oo« 9f ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

©ill feotroy s&® , , « f 
- - do yce sappooo my s»«g the® had th® slightest 
notioo of ^hae Ho awt «&on Bo said, "B^y .&*!« 
eoe »f yoa wUX fessofea a® sod £W? 
Soy© Jostie Christ ptttboticol&v — **» %»»«**». — . •. * 

©f too door into Hia tuosoaity, thU *®sfc .iim. «» 

w>, ws sexv ouows it — ®hm Josus Christ ls*«ag» 

afely My01! -f^u ^ m ^ ^ „ 

« Siass ® .....Bot Bo hsstOM o® 9 «nd i«t ma, fla4eh 

His sootooso - . «** X oiU oot ho to.. fc ^ 3s *, fete fa ^ ^ 

Ut so toU y TO too a,.ry » x « it or so I rood it. I p*^ lt ^ 
■nek!*, - or ooo of to. ttm owrooghs «f Koo Tors, it «Wt «**, « y dl *. 
for.** - ^ d4se ^ ^ lfttto ^ 1-dy ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

*«o* oportooot. *ho ^i cal ^^ ^ said ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 
«**. . o-ic, *o •**, .- ue.. ^ ^ ,^ ^^ ^ ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ ^ 

ii^ g thoo o^sr U^d ««. (Wro ^r^^ w sa?3 ^ ^^ ^^ 
oil sroood yoo) - » dio looo, aod to ^ w te , g , ^^^ ^ ^ 



: : mnt& n (3) 



But-* tha Mm ©id® ©£ tha stogy jwe tutvs yat z® &®a^-» 

Hk®y diecwarad ©a eh© s&ssbssS sloagsida ©f fes&K chair Is whiefe she had diad 
a diary that aha h®d kapt. &ad as fchey fcass&ad tha gagas *£ that: diary fcaay 
foead that alia aastias fas* tha last eve wastm %?ara hasieally tha saaie.<>««xaep£ 
£®r tha last antsy that s&® w,ds* It ted ss additioaaJ, word. 

For £»© «?*«&© bftfora aha disdt this was tha eatry* day &fe«r day —• a siss- 
pls sfcstaaaafc: M H©b®dy easa to $&& «aa t®d&y*'° 

'..-V'. , ; :-;.-v.-:- :iv; :.:'' :,.-;■ W'-.-v. ,'.'.)V,-.: v ".■>: :,:lV.:''.,.:::v ;;:■". ;;,:£. '.',, -:>; vfe;: :;.^:s ?; y ■->:.-& ,-». xw&mt-* 
daetory w®x&s "Still nohody eaas to asa «a today." 

Ey«a sis® saast iasatts£t&va» yoa eaa, asa sss^ad toy hearing & atovey sw©& as this, 
asad ehaaess era 9 whaa yaa «d X think of loneliness «a thi&k of '£k© lenallnsss 
of the little old people. 

Bat I acne quickly fee tall yaws tkia aswct ag fthat lenallnese is not soMafchlag 
that belongs only to &h$t aged* toaaltneiss ie haing eat off ~~ thafc's «h»a I©»~ 
li&ess is —» l&aalinees is being separated. There is suc% a thing a* sh© loneli- 

* -jgg,* Xiat as read it fox y«s again* It appeared «m She front 
page of ehls week's? MS8SES6&E . , « 

* • . • wm las* a tmd&ffstaad a thing or two eheut loaaliaae®. 
It is sEttst primarily a natter eeatiegens: epen agoa tima« asf 
piae®. A child of a£s can ha losaly; a great-grsadfathar 
at eighty-five een he the frieadliast c!aap ©a £he Meek, 
lor ia it to ha equated with tha praaaaoa or afceeaea of 
pmple.. Oam aaa ha seat JUmaly whasa awrouadad by paopla • • • " 
Siasrs £a tha loaaliaass of aga of msv&m* 

.■;■■ ,M';.-;I io.-?vA •;•-■■ :-te-; -;.:■■.„■ '■- ■■- -"': / - ■ -:•: .:,;-■■. ; . ■ •;•.;: -, . ■■■■■■;- . ;;...■>'■,■:;■ :;"\v =&.■ y?^ 

»t»,pposa ha wanta fe;o ^wssre^.d hiaoalf wieh toyef HSay &® j&u $mppo®& 

ha %aa£a yoia to tuck M^ iato hod &t aightf 

la sa MgMy aattMatad pariehioaa? ©f ssra «me@ said to na t 



" Sow ?q Handle teB@iiife^@° 8 C^) 

s&a p«s besr dasEghfceie S© bed* "Hesr y©a go to h®&* 8®& will watoU 
ov®sr ym. n And th« «MI4 £<8pl£@d s beautifully a©„ "But He doass't 
kiss nwa ge©&J.gfei;» S! A sMM wat® 8® rolasa* &ssd s»hat is loo*- 
Xissse but baiag eat off — aot havtag a, relatioasblpf 
I «ra® ©tartled the othe? dey wh®a I vs&d a Sssasa e«tfaolic publiestiem. — I 
subscribe t© at least three of shea* Oro ©f thaa had ©a, article srittes by 
!!hmsm €laea is «?hi«h te fcaBsed sbossfc t&& leaeilaese ©£ a© teaaagar. It aade 
quit® sa lapacs sspoa ay salad £«h? I'd forgotten* yea ®<m v hm loaely a tessaager*! 
wsarld eaa &«.»«»» 

Aad tb«s it «11 bsroagba bask so sas rathe? vividly tew lomeiy X 
was dusriasg adoleeeoaee* GM bl®ess ay paraa&Bs, aaw of sal&tsd 
asaory* they sever «sr?ea kaaw these @*as sueh £ ward a® adoleseeaeee 
Sat &©©■ they endured ay <8x!st®a«© @f £e ass! asy pasaiag through It* 
la that little taw* w® lived la a Vleseriea-issyla house, with its 
gabled mi®* It had tare* storeys* with a wiadiag stairway — hew 
1 used to take is to ths very sop floor aed these,, ia t&&£ g«bl« 
sad, swas a little «®os»» iw I is»fe back siasl realise how TO«h is 
sassaat t& »s* St «es ny shangri-la » it was ay refuga. 13b!r*K;gtoat 
that whole ordeal of ad©l®sse»8® I woold g® tfe©?* av&ry asw sod 
then wbaa X felt 1 was being out off » by pressures and forces 
and people who couldn't quite uadaretsad s&® w®%%& is «&ieh I 
«rao Htoviag. ..*. 
sxsieift «»i Sha loaalis®ae of sS&o £««sssgar i«eugbt is all bask to sffl* 4 

"*• world is a laa®ly mm* That Beatles » yos g®&> jsad© is vaiy seal for 
a ehsiy ss?sg afemt e «ll ths; loasely j»«©s?l®** Senatioas anf®si a te^ssga^ 9 ® 
@5slo»typ« da&c® rof 1®«8» bis s®parati«a fr®® othax' people. 

la Sbis higbly Esobilised wosrld ±m whleh ^e live wa'ff® beiog ttpffootad »,yo® 
sea. is beiog tsrattetfessed fsoa plaee to pise®*. I eald a gr©sp of e$aflsatsmds 



Thy, To Haadi^i^aiaM.^ <5> 

last sight ia Bieber Hall that ©ace risers IMa retreat session with a 
of po»t-e©©firja»nds as Bethany, om of the youngsters told so that, hawing 
bee® fourteen years of age at that tixao, his family had isovad thirteen dif- 
ferent tiaae - «• that aeans uprooting, that aeaas taking you sway from aoae 
vary precious pcopla in your life. 

Sons of us look back and ressaaker a stabilised sssauaity, Where when you 
sres&t to church on Sunday yon saw grandpa, asad you sm grandma, mm. if you 
didn't aaa than dusriag She waek....ysu aaw your auate and your uncles, you 
saw your school-teacher, your friends and your neighbors. Thar® ware those 
grandchildren of yesteryear, you know, who when things began boiling w fe* 
Cans es: hone, peeked a little knapseek and hied thenselves off to Orasdaa's 
house — putting the grandparents la a prsdicsasnt, of course* in a paaullar 
bind, because they couldn't aarbeir then — thay had to g© hmsk. But they v@r® 

Did 1 tell you this before — that social scientists tall us that teen- 
agers era relating t© fewer mad fewer adults. And yet they need t® relate to 
than. And all of this aeens a kind of loneliness at any age. 

On® of the saddest things I think I aver read was to® ©ppraissl of a 
aocial peychologiet who said that you aaa justify in the ainds of soaa prostl~ 
ttttse their role in life, because thay feel they need to relate to soacoas, if 
only briefly, and for a base reason. 

There's the loneliness that sets in among the aiddle-ag«d» $hy do they 
Joia the groups thay dot Of course there's the loneliness when age itself sets 
in, whan one's circle of friends and relatives diainishes year by yaar» 

There's the loneliness net only of any sg@ 6 but also there 1® the iraaliaess 
of thss afflicted, the physically handicapped. 

- - wfcea a nan begins t© lose hie eye-sight — te b® cut off 
from the things that the rest of us can see and relate to 



. 



- - tha loasliasss that @a£® ia wish tha physically bsadiasppud 
wfeaa aba feagias to loss bar fessriag,, sad @h* is eat ©i'f fxoa 
Sit* aonssl aiad of c«awaroatioa that tha rsot of us havs.... 

- » ahsro'a C&e loasliasss that sats la wt ©sly £©r ths physi- 
cally h&adicappwd but also for tha wmttm&lXy dlaturhad — thsy 
havs thair fasrs, thair failaras, fch<&i?f fisruatratloass, m£ &hey°r« 

v ,'V.i:.-; '/I — taoy'rs ShUtttOd SSlda baeSttSS St thair paCUiiarltlSS 
« - how ws dalihorataly pat .g@id® tha esarotle — easy g«a ®a 
our asrvas, w« fiad it difficult to tolsissts tosa whoa they 
dslibaratsly food up«a ©«ssr syisps&hy...*... 
Ihara is tha loasliasss ?*hat sots ia was© thos* who sirs af flietsd by eircaa- 
a&mvzxm ©*<r« wfeieh thsy haw* ao eoatrel — tha widcwod, or tas fathar sad aothar 
Who tesr© a soa &s a daughter tafcsa sway «• the whoia b®w adJoatHsat that has to 
hs ss&dal oehaswioa Ufa -pmsm you by„ sad you're shunted sside..*«sapara£sd 
,,o.»itet ! g ?#&ae loasliasss is — eat off. 

faera is ths loasliasss ia ths third category, if you doa't salad, sad that 
is ths loaellaes® of ths cristrosrstio — ths ©lis* — those wto tswer above an 
hf vistas of their aehisvessssst or their talsat« or their station ia life. Qaa 
of ths greatest seraoss ewer pre&ebad was preaehad by Eob«sts«» of Brig!it©» 9 aad 
ths subject was '"She &oaoi£a&ss of Ottist" » - - Do feewe to dssl coaatsatly wish 
people wh© dlda*t »owa ia Hi© world* who coulda't edjaat th*sa»«lvas t© His spisi- 
tusl climate. Aad yst to deal with thorn* Ehey coasteatiy tssid® Bin a world all 
sloas. 

. * . .more Sdbsa ®m prasidoat has referred to ths Hhita House as 
too loaalisst piae® to towa. »*«. 
But I ^sw© a@»s fog- you* «ar felsad* I«©a<sila«s3) must h® seosptsd as a fsct 
of lif*. It dava aet %*« igaosrad. Sh®a Sod saada as, H* tsad© us to ralats, dass- 
pits tfe® sirctwstaaess of lif a that sa&y oaparats us. 



■'■ 



Bow the tragic thing about Imslt&mstt is not the fact that it nay exist. 
"Che tragedy lies in ear inability or our failute to learn how to cope with it, 
hew to handle it. Cut of£ by Hi® friends, Jesus Christ faaes? that He would still 
have to keep open the lines of costtunication with His Keavenly Father. And as 
He kept ©pen the Uses of eossounication with His Keavenly Father, H© re-gained 
a sense of perspective as to how to doal with circumstances ever which Ha had 
ao control* Granted yen and I have our haaith and ©ue strength, I honestly be- 
lieve that it is possible to leara hme to cop® wish le&eli&ess* w« a©«d not to 
suceuiab to it. 

Now X don't have to tell yon, do I, that leneliseas or solitude are sot the 
same? For myself , I cra^e solitude. X asvat for myself th® opportunity of be- 
ing alone, that I might feel acre than ever the very pr«sme« of God. Am& &eisg 
w&&® avarc of the presence of God, 2 begin to see you in & new relationship. And 
is these jsoaent® ©f solitariness I eas come back to you asd serve y&n better. 
loneliness and solitude are sot the ®aa®» Jesus Christ a&stersd ete «»t efi ted-~ 
ling loneliness. There are people is this congregation who h&v© raastssred it - - 
it's no small wader fth©t scan of the west productive work that 9 ® carried oa la 
this congregation is carried ©a by. paopis who live alone. Assd 2 think ssayb® 

"Bon't go and g®fc sorry for yourself - - that's the one thing.! can't stand is 

nobody. There's always lots of ©thss- foS&s jm can b© sorry £©£• s ©e«ssd of y<©w- 



BslovM* loneliness sused not be s walkisag death, if y@u plan to keen eoa- 
ay with Jesus Christ. Maybe one of these day© you'll look m. Fag» Fen? of the 

KE3U'm>m mm ywrll fi-sS £■£ ~ ■> .^—v. mssk p-;fe>C*g 'It's & pzzysx fas thoga 
wb© live alone. 



• a e ■ 



:..:.':... .--."'..: ..■.>;-.:. WJ 



A g8ATBR 
FOB SH0SB WHO LIVE A LOKg 

I live alo&Sc dear Lord, 

Stay by ay aids* 

Xa all asy daily steads 

Be thou my guide. 

Grant ae good health* 

For that isadesd, I pray* 

To earry on sy w&& 

Frost day to day. 

Keep pure say sated,, 

Uy thoughts, ssy every daad, 

Let ma ba kind* unselfish 

la tajr neigh&©r*s aead. 

Spara tae from fire, frost flood, 

Malicious tongue® 9 

From thieves, froa fear, 

Aad evil oates. 

If alcknass or a© accident befall, 

The® humbly. Lord, I ireay. 

Hear Xhou say sail, 

And when I'm feeling low* 

Or in despair, 

Lift up tay heart 

And help je« in ay prayer. 

X live alo&e, dear Lord 8 

fee have a© fear, 

Because 1 feel your presence 

Ever near. Amen. 



, ..loasiiagsas need not be a walkiag demth. ¥«» eaa have tit© 
companionship of Jasusi Christ. 



* 



(This seaaost transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Four th Sunda y of , Easter ,, , , , April 20, 1975 

"LEARN BY LIVING" 
(Genesis 5:27) 



XT IS not easy, God, either to prepare 
a sermon or to listen to one. We need 
Your help. Therefore, through the Holy 
Spirit, lay hold upon the preacher and 
the listener as well, that together we 
may draw benefit. Through Jesus Christ 
Thy Son our Lord, Who when He came, came 
preaching. Amen, 



They were two of a kind. Snail wonder then that the question that was 
put to them was identical. Their answers, alike, were yet: dissimilar. They 
were both grandfathers, and here is the one question put to both of them? 
"Grandpa, how old are you?" 

Grandpa Number One answered: "Old enough to know better." 

Grandpa Number Two responded: "Old enough to have learned a thing or two," 
...the answers alike, yet dissimilar » 

For together these answers indicate that life must be looked upon as a 
learning process, and one either masters the art of learning what life is all 
about, or he doesn't. At some point he reaches the stage where fcm can honestly 
say that he's learned something, that he has drawn benefit and experience, that 
the years have not been spaas in vain. Or he could coma to a point in life 
where he looks back and laments the fact that he hasn't learned very much. 

I suggest to you this morning that the lesson of lessons that needs to be 
learned is the fact that life is meant to be lived and to be lived well, the 
prize does not belong to those who live simply to a ripe old age. There's a 
text for this sermon. For those of you who know your Bible, perhaps you've 
decided already what the text is going to be. We go all the way back to the 
Old Testament, to the very first Book in the Old Testament, the Book of Gene- 
sis, the 5th chapter, the 27th versa. And for some of you it could be that 



the words of the text are already being formed on your lips: 

"Thus all the days of Methuselah were 
nine hundred and sixty-nine years; 
and he died." 

A preacher is thrilled with a text such as this, honestly he is, for 

what it says and for what it doesn't say. The bare facts are there — the 

man's name, his age, and the fact that he died, together with a comment that 

invites further comnent - - - "and he died." Well, let your imagination be 

triggered . . . 

. . .where did he die? 

...from what did he die? 

...if he had such a graad track record of 969 

pare, why did he have to die at all! 

...if he could accumulate a past like that, why couldn't 

he keep going? 

.. .facetiously speaking,, he should 

have been maintained just by momentum! 

A physician, no less, was intrigued by this text, and this is what he had 

to say. Anyone who has read the Bible or studied the Old Testament, remembers 

Methuselah as the oldest man — "old as Methuselah" has become a by-word. But, 

maintained he, Methuselah might have lived longer. Now to support that he 

calls to our attention some of the data that appears in chapter 7 of the book 

of Genesis, as well as chapter 5. He aays Methuselah was 137 years old when 

Lamach was born, and Laraeeh was 132 years old when Noah %?as born, *« .and how old 

was Noah at the time of the flood? — this is important — Uoah was 600 years 

old at the time of the flood. So with your mental calculator, add 187 to 182, 

plus 600, and you get a total of 969 years - - - that's how old Methuselah 

was when he di®d. And that was tha year ©f the flood. 



,»«.. now „ says this physician as he asks the question, was Methuselah drowned 
in the flood? Did he then die prematurely? But for the flood, might he have 
lived longer? At any rate, according to the story, Methuselah has lived longer 
than anybody else, fie is the symbol of longevity. 

Now quite parenthetically, you ought to know the referral that's prompted 
this sermon. I'm having my first close-hand relationship with age. For 
Winifred's mother will be 90 years of age tomorrow. She lives with us now, 
she's invalided, confined to a wheelchair. Don't misunderstand me when I 
tell you this, it's altered our life-style, of course it has. Constant care, 
readily available, almost like having a child in the house all over again, 
because the length of time when you can be away from the house is automati- 
cally determined. It's not a burden let me make that perfectly clear. 

It's not a burden because we couldn't possibly live long enough to repay her, 
and my debt to her for Winifred is very great. We love her. And then there's 
a third reason: it's becoming increasingly plain to me how much she teaches u@» 

I never quite looked at it that way before. There are the lessons that 
only old people can toach. They've lived a bit longer, they've traveled down 
the road a bit farther, they've plumbed the depths of life ao those of us who 
are younger haven't done. There's a great deal to be said for longevity. ...and 
granted you have health and strength, chances are you'd like to be old some 
day — most certainly if you're 30 or 40 or 50 you'd like to be older. 

And I have news for you . . . chances are you will live longer than your 
parents lived. Are you aware of the fact that right now in the United States 
of America there are 10,000 people who are 100 years of age and over? Are 
you aware of the fact that there are now, I think, 3,430,000 people who are 
35 years of age and over? (Cake comfort in that, Alex — you have 3 million 
people keeping csrapa©;/ with you!) Are you aware of the fact that S out of 10 
will live to be 50..... 7 out of 10 now living will reach, in all likelihood, 



"team by Living" (4) 

70 years of age? So we're becoming quite conscious now of the fact that we 
could live longer. 

But as I come to this sacred desk this morning I am in duty hound to warn 
you: the hallmark of life does not lis simply in longevity. The sad thing about 
Methuselah^ the oldest man who ever lived, was after he died the only thing that 
they could record about him was his age, and the fact that he died. It isn't 

how long one lives it's how well one lives, whatever the termination date 

may be that God may have in mind. 

In contrast to Methuselah, think of the life of our Blessed Lord. Our 
Heavenly Father gave Elm only 33 years on this earth, and what He did with those 
33 years has altered the face of humanity. I lay bare my soul to you when I tell 
you that I have a most uncomfortable feeling when for myself I think of all the 
additional years that God has given to me over and beyond what He gave His 
Son. Hhat have 1 to show for the fact that I've lived longer than 33 years? 

Tertullian once discovered in the Christian congregation of which he was 
part a fellow member who was engaged in unethical business practices. He 
couldt' t help but take him to task. And his fellow member simply retorted 

by saying: "But a man's got to live" as though that would justify alone 

his disreputable behavior. And Tertullian, God biers him, cut him to the 
quick by simply asking: "flhy?" . . . well, there you have it. Not how long 
does one live, but why does one live? 

Some of you heard me say this before, and I've never heard it put better. 
In the words of the first question of the old Catechism of the old Presbyterian 
Church, the very first question is: What is the chief end of man? And the 
answer is simply: The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him 
for&yer. And bless you, if that becomes the justification for your existence, 
then you can rest assured that you're living well, because no man glorifies 
God without doing it far ti\e battermant of his fellow-men. 



?.y. 



Pastor David very properly is leading a group of young people on Sunday 
nights on the general thsma of Death and Dying. It's all quits popular ttess 
days, you know — they've introduced courses on thanatology on college campuses. 
It used to be a forbidden subject — w® shied away from it. But nmt we're 
willing to come to grips with the fact that a man ought to learn how to die. 

In the quest lon-snd-answer period that we had as I sat in for Pastor 
David last Sunday night, X took advantage of sty relationship with £he guest 
who was there, a highly esteemed friend and neighbor, a physician, and I rather 
awkwardly put to him this troublesome question: If it were within your power 
to choose the age at which you would die s how long would you want to live? 
I caught the intent of his answer very easily, and he did answer exceptionally 
well - - he's in his 60's, but we were given clearly to understand that he's 
not ready to terminate it yet. In private conversation with him I learned 
that he believes that to a degree he's coming into his greater usefulness — 
he fcas a handle on life that he didn't have before — he's able to assess it 
in a way that he couldn't assess it before. And all of this is simply to sug- 
gest that all other things being equal, we do crave to live a bit longer.... 
...sad longer.... and longer. And unless there's the translation of the physi- 
cal frame, and the denial of our mental faculties, who wants to check in to- 
morrow? 

, \ .' : . all — if 

tonight God would require my soul, if for today God would say, this is the 

end, and you don't hive a tomorrow how could you make your exit? With & 

cleat conscience., thanks to the grace of God? Could you honestly believe that 
you had lived meaningfully, with whatever years God had given you? 

Today a weak ago the mother of our Lesson Reader celebrated the 80th anni- 
versary of her birth. They had a celebration for her, as well they should. Hav- 
ing been given advance word, X was numbered among those who could -snrite her a 



"Learn by Living" (6) 



letter. Thursday, this was her reply, "My 80th birthday was another one 
(underlined) of God's special blessings bestowed upon me. My Lord has indeed 
remembered me all along the way these many years » and it is difficult for me 
to find words to adequately praise Him. But I am confident that He knows the 
thoughts of my heart, ©Tea if I am unable to express them. I am thinking of 
the Master's words, recorded in Luke 6:38 - - £ 6ive, and it shall be given 
unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over 
shall man give into year bosom' . . . M And this is her concluding statement; 
Lenced thii ua& teasur y Lord 
As long as the God-factor - - - as long as the eternal dimension is 
evidenced at any age, one lives well, whether short or long. Poor Methuselah, 
he lived to a ripe old age..... and when it was all over, the only thing they 
could say about him was that he died. When you and I end our earthly pil- 
grimage, do yen suppose they might be able to say anything at all about the 
way we lived? 

.......now, you think about that. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 






Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

Tha Fifth Sunday of Easter April 27. 1975 






GSACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord, who fcas 
placed in our heart the song of 
the redeemed. Amen, 



And now the text . . . naturally from that book of praise* the 

Psaltery itself, the second verse of Psals 146: 

"While I live tflll I praise the Lord; I will 
sing praises unto my God while I have any 



You won't mind if I wax reckless a hit and give you a free transla- 
tion? - - "As Ions as I am alive I'll have nothing but good things to say 
about: God, no matter what happens to me, no matter where I may be, you can 

count on one thing: I'll :?ive praise to God and I'll do it as long as I 

breathe. " 

Come now, let: m© *isk you the question, how long has it been since you 
ever heard anybody talk like that? If I were a gambling man I'd be willing 
to wager that some folk*, either inside the Faith or outside the Faith, would 

say, "Come off of it:! you really don't mean that, do you? Are you willing 

to say that no matter what happens, you'll always think about God kindly, coma 
wind or weather? - - You're not just saying that because it's a day as bright 
and beautiful as this one, and ywi're being carried away with enthusiasm?" 
.....I ask you the question again, how long has it been since you heard any- 
body get excited about God? — beyond this place, or when people have gathered 
for worship- 

I've seen, in television if not actually, how people can rise to their 
feet and yell and shout when the star-of-stare in the football staditaa does 
something spectacular. ....or when there's one home run hit after another — I 






can even feel the thrill of it bow, as I've seen others be thrilled by it. 
How often do you see people getting excited about God? 

They tell tae there was a time when there were generations who got ex- 
cited about God. lie vas central in their life. Ha dominated their thinking. 
Bless my mother of sainted memory — stemming from Middle-Eastern stock as 
she did ... I don't know of anything that ever happened in her life but 
what she didn't turn to God and say thank-you — she was that kind of a 
women. With that simple mind of hers she even led me to believe as a child 
— can you imagine this — that those chicks that we had in our back yard, 
every time they ate or drank* they lifted their necks and their heads, she 

said, heavenward! to thank God for their simple fare. But she, they tell 

me, was of another generation . 

Those who are in a position to know as they survey the scene tells us 
that our generation has put God to the periphery, that He no longer dominates 
our thinking.... that if we should think of Gcd, we think of Him to take Him 
to task for some untoward event. Yesterday morning some of us spent a very 
profitable two hours In a cotmaittee meeting. The gentleman who was our host 
conducted the devotioss. Among other things he said, "I want to talk to you 

about the new idolatry" the new idolatry? - - as he indicated to us the 

new idolatry is man, vhan he does think of God, taking Him to task for not 
exercising better judgment over the world, presumably for which He has some 
concern. ... .and if Gee. doesn't act as we think He ought to act in our interests] 
then we take Him to tt.sk, and we propose a better way by which He might have 
handled the situation. There are some people who when they think of God, 
think of Him only at eueh times and in such manner. But not so this Psalmist. 
The Psalmist says, "While I live — while I breathe, I'll give God praise." 

Among the books that I have on my shelves that go back some 30 years 
ago, is a book entitled "The Lost Radiance of The Christian Religion." As 



far back aa three decades ago there were those who were concerned lest even 
Christianity itself lack luster and its flame begin to grow dim. Could that 
have happened to you? 

Lois Schuetzler, bless her soul — she's the one responsible for that 
exceedingly well-done cover that you have for today's souvenir program. .. .with 
her gifts and skills, suppose she were to stand here right now and make a photo- 
graphic study of your face. What would it reveal? Would your face indicate a 
measure of serenity? Would your face indicate a measure of radiance? Could 
anyone detect, looking at you, that you are God-conscious — that God is 
the dominating force in your life? 

i-Iy heart was ttcraogeiy troubled not long ago when X discussed the mar- 
riage service with a couple who thought they would maybe be married in Saint 
Luke. And so I went over very carefully the Order for Holy Matrimony, and as 
some of you may remember, God enters very largely into that ritual — we keep 
referring to Him again and again. And that couple gave me to understand that 
they weren't about to appreciate that ritual, because they couldn't quite see 
how God had anything to do with their pledging devotion to each other. And 
I said to myself silently, I should live so long, to hear someone talk like 
that I 

I'm not trying to be cynical — God forbid! — and I don't know what 
it is perhaps that they could have reached that point in their lives where 
they could have reasoned that way, unless it is symptomatic of so many. I 
also have another booi on my shelves that bears the title: "The Eternal Dimen- 
sion" and the author shows it not because the eternal dimension seems to be 
present in our lives, the God- factor, that is — but because it seems to be 
lacking. And with all the strength that I can command I have this to say to 
you: when God goes out of our lives we don't have much left to sing about! 
Of all the religions known to the mind of man, none gives greater cause for 



rejoicing than the Christian faith properly understood. 

Why could this nan say "I will prais© the Lord as long as I live"? 
Reason #1: He believed ia God. He lived his life on the basis of the eternal 
dimension! There is a power over and above and beyond hiia, and beyond him! 
And whenever he thought of that he had a light in his eye. Leo Tolstoy, sons 
other than he, tells that at 50 years of age life had gone sour on Mm, and 
he was about to reject belief in God. For almost two years he wrestled with 
himself. He even admits that he would hide rope, lest in moments of despair 
he would take the rope and hang himself from the rafters in the attic. But 
on© day he went walking sad triad to reason with himself why he 3hould give 
up belief in God.... and then, he says, every time he thought of God there 
was a sudden up-surge of energy that possessed his soul, and a spring came 
into his step. 

This ia what belief in God does for us; it lifts us beyond our despair. 
And religion, properly understood . . . you know your Latin, don't you? — 
religio, religionist t o be bound by, to be held by - - - the man who believes 
111 God ** keing held bv eomaone over- and above and beyond him, and whom we 
Christians call the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ » 

And when a man believes in God, he always has a destination. There's 
a goal, there's an objective in life. For the Christian, properly understood, 
Heaven is his destination. This is what he's being drawn toward! And he 
never really learns how to live on earth until he reflects the very nature 
and the quality of his destination. .... 

....show me & man who is oa Ms way to meet his beloved — 
no foot-dragger he! — but a whistle on his lips s and a song in 
his heart I — .being drawn toward this happy destination. . . . 
Every time we Christians come together we remind ourselves of the eteraal disaee- 
sion. We talk about etsrnal life. 



urgan uaaa-cancxon - j 



Z don't pose as a scientist, I do not: pose as a social psychologist, 
clinical or otherwise, and surely I would not pretend to be a psychiatrist. 
I am a simple pastor, who for almost 35 years God has given to me the privi- 
lege to listen in on human hearts. And every now and then I discover the 
dismay that some people know because they become disoriented. They'rs not 
being drawn toward anything over and above and beyond themselves. They're 
not pursuing God's iream and God's objective. Which leads me to think of a 
very simple story, almost like Aesop Fable, of the hunter who went out one 
day with nothing in particular in mind, when he saw a deer, and he said, "I'll 
go after the deer". ...and as he went after the deer he saw a fox, and then he 
gave his attention to the feat and he pursued the fox for a while.... and than 
after a bit a rabbit crossed his path, and he went after the rabbit..... he 
pursued the rabbit for a while, and than he saw a pheasant, and after the 

pheasant he went..., and before he knew it, darkness had settled in and 

he had nothing to show when day was ended 

....they tell me there are people like that, who spend the days 
of their years not pursuing any one noble objective. 
But when a man believes in God, properly understood, he's always being drawn 
by God. Properly understood, 1 don't think there is any such thing as a dis- 
oriented Christian. For thanks to the grace of God, when a Christian gets 
off the path it is «»nly temporary, because God cosies to him through the Holy 
Spirit. God is always making a gracious overture toward us. God is always 
coming to us, God io always reminding us: you're not meant to go to Hell. 

You're meant for Heaven and I've stamped on you the mark of the redeemed! 

now that's something to sing about! 

* * 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 






Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheea 

The Sixth Sunday off Easter Hay 4, 1975 

"ABOUT PRAYER" 
(Matthew 6:7) 

GRACE, Mercy and Perce from Sod 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ , our Blessed Lord. Amen* 

I want to think very informally with you this morning about a subject 
that's very dear tt my heart, and I dare Bay, quite significant to many of 
you, if not all of you. It" a the subject of prayer. 

And yet I hasten to say at the very beginning there are times when 
I'm not quite certain where some of you mey be in your thinking regarding 
prayer. I suppose this was triggered in s very real way for me some weeks 
back when during the Lent an season we conducted those very helpful Bible 
study sessions on Wednesday morning and again on Wednesday evenings. I 
can still hear the echo of her voice as we were about to end one of those 
sessions, when during a qvestion-and-answer period she posed the question, 
and I thought rathe* pathetically, that is., I thought I detected pathos in 

her voice her question was this-i: "Does it really do any good to pray?" 

c<> .and then she cited an example or two which, I presume, 
prompted her to ask the question and to indicate in the 
tone of her voice that as she remembered those examples, 

pray. And as a result, the question was now being applied 
generally. .... 
Could it be that in your thinking, wittingly ©r unwittingly we've out- 
grown the need to pray, if we should ask the question, does it really do any 
good to pray? 

Sere was m time in this life of the early Church when the early Church 






w- 



we* sustained and nurtured by prayer. They simply could not exist without 
it 

...one thinks of the life of Jesus Christ, and I dare you to think of 

Jesus Christ as anything less than a Man of Prsy*r, , , , , 
But there are those who tell me that His day was so different from ours — we 
are the enlightened ones, we are the literate ones - - we have at cur finger- 
tips' control the powers and the forces of the universe . We are even able to 
dam the forces of nature. 

Eow In she day of Jesus Christ, sure you'll admit that prayer was real 
for Him then because you may be inclined to think that life was so d ifferent 
in His day. When people became ill, as an example, they had no trained medi- 
cal men, they had no nurses to whom they could turn as we know registered 
nurses. Thay had no physicians , general pr act it toners or specialists ready 
to meet their need* So what did they del Xhey prayed, 

I remember my father* of blessed memory, tailing me about his noshes:, 
my paternal grandmother ~* a woman that I never net. but in whose debt X will 
remain to the day I die for a spiritual heritage. My father told me how they 
lived in that little village beyond the slopes of Beirut overlooking that 
magnificent city and the shores of the Mediterranean..... and his brother had 
become ill with the fever (maybe you may remember my having told you this) 

....and immediately when she discovered how serious his physical 
condition was, she got: dam. on her bauds and knees and crawled frsm where 
they lived to the village church. . .Where she presumably prostrated herself in 
humility before Almighty God, and in an act of devotion she lit a candle and 

and the grace of Gc&« . . . . 

'■■■■■ '■■■■'- ■■ "''■''■•'' '' ...'---oft J.. ;v "-v; A' p'^:-. ':'":'':: £'i: a.:..'., 'L-iKiQ? Iifev;.;,/;.:S 









with so great reverence and respect my faster told me that when she got home, 
the fever was gone! - - the crisis was over! - - in a day when thay didn't 
have -medical facilities readily available, you might say people prayed. 

But nowadays, we go quickly to the medicine cabinet, we get out the 
family doctor book, we call the physician . . . we make a trip to the emergency 
room of the hospital » . . . sad maybe the only time we think of praying is 
when th& preacher locms on the horison. And if he's worth his salt, of 
■■"-■"rse, he won't leave without asking a prayer, whether lt'a cs your agenda 
or not. But I dare say that paternal grandmother of mine that I never met, 
srere she living today, I'm reasonably certain thai: she'd take full advantage 
of the antibiotics, I am reasonably certain that she would ask for the physi- 
cian......... but if I understand her aright* I am also reasonably certain 

that she would still pray, she would not have allowed herself to believe 
that she had outgrown the need to pray, just because we have these things 
available. 

1 smile to myself broadly, of course I do, and you will, perchance, 
when I relate for you the story of the four Methodist bishops who were winging 

their way across the Atlantic Ocean and one of them presumably a wit, said 

to the stewardess as she passed by, "When you next see the captain, tell him 
not to worry — there are four Methodist bishops aboard this plane, and 
every one of us is a prayi&g man!" When she reappeared, the Methodist bishop 
said, "What did the saptain s;ay?" And her reply was, "He said if it's all 
the same so you, he 8 d just as 1 - well have four good engines!" And this is the 
kind of age in which we live, you see* We recognize the need to be alert, 
we recognise the need to use our brains, and then control the things that 
are within our control. But pray? Maybe wittingly or unwittingly we permit 
ourselves to chink that we've outgrown the need to pray. 



And th©a I have to hasten quickly to say to some of you that maybe 
you don't pray for this reason; you're not so sure that you're gifted eaough 
ia the art of praying. Maybe you permit yourself to think that you need a 
peculiar kind of endowment,, thai God has given only to certain people spiri- 
tual sensitivity. And so maybe you're neglecting praying because you're per- 
fectly content to let other people pray for you..., 

....here again I continue to smile broadly it takes me 

back all of those years when I began my ministry. It was my first 
confirmation class, and one day when the class was ending the sweet 
little thing same to me aad said, "I have to tell you something that 
happened to my father at the hospital" .... well, let me relate it 
for you. He was a simple-minded chap, and in those days in the men's 
ward on the stscond floor in the Williamsport Hospital we had a charac- 
ter who'd appear every now and then. He was bearded, dark piercing 
eyes, and I don't mean it unkindly, he was a Bible elutcher. And 
for some people it looked as though Jesus had come back in modern 
garb. And he'd stand alongside of a patient's bed, and then in a 
very sanctimonious tone he'd says "Can I pray for you?" 
....and this sweat thing in my confirmation class told me all about 

this, and she said, "You know what my dad said to him? my dad said, 

'No, thank you — I have a young preacher over on the South Side and 
he does all my praying for me.'" And as I recall that incident I'm 
inclined to tfeiak maybe there was more truth in that statement than 
we'd care to admit. We're perfectly willing to let somebody else do 
all our prayitg for us, 

I refer to it, mark you, as the great and wonderful Roman Catholic Church, 
and I'm not about to condemn them, but maybe they've contributed to it. They 






talk a great deal about the intercession ©£ the saints. They talk a great 
deal about having the saints pray for us, They event exalt and venerate Mary* the 
Blessed Mother, asad encourage people to pr©y 9 if not to Mary, then through tlary «— 
believing that she had a kind of access to the Throne of Grace that other people 
didn't have. Maybe you're like that* when you find yourself going to other 
people and believing that thai? fervent praying will be more effective than 
yours, 

don't get me wrong, don't hesitate to ask some of us to pray for you. 
The Biblical admonition is that we ought to pray for one another as well as pray 
with one another. But let's level back again — if this is where perchance you 
could be in your thinking regarding prayer, that you've outgrown it, or you've 
neglected the habit of it beeause you're willing to let other people do the 
praying for you, then let me tell you that you're shortchanging yourself, and 
you're shortchanging the church, you're shortchanging your family. Jesus Christ 
prayed, and Jesus Christ Intended that we should pray. In fact, those who were 
near and dear to Him believed this about Him, that His life was so different just 
because He prayed. 

1 was numbered among those who sat captivated by the Frog Prince yesterday 
afternoon and as I earn last evening, when Mar ton the Magician wants to talk 

about a riddle or a joke and then Merton the Magician tells them: "How many 

faces do children have?".....aad than very cleverly they dealt with that theme. 

X mused as I went to bod last night... .... how many faces did Jesus Christ have? 

Jesus Christ has mora than one face, and the most wonderful of all the faces 
characteristic of Jesus Christ is the face of the Man of Prayer. And I submit 
to you, you have never really seen Jesus Christ until you recognize Him as the 
Man who prayed. 

Forever I'll ba indebted to the fact that the church in which I grew up in 
that small town had a reproduction of Hearich Hofmena's "Christ in the Garden of 



Gethssmase" on His knees..... and whea my miad would wander during the preachieg 
of the sermon, and when 1 couldn't perhaps appreciate the high quality of the 
anthem, the language ©f the hymns was so clotted in terras that I couldn't 
understand - - - my mind would go again and again to that interpretation ©£ 
Jesus Christ on His knees, 

You never really understand Him until you recognize Bin as the Han of 
Prayer. And He's the one who said to us, "Without me you can do nothing." And 
Hs ? s the one who gave us an example of praying. And He is the one who responded 
to the request that we should be taught to pray. 

Tour prayer life can be far mare effective then it is, if you think it's 
ineffective. It's the one thing given to every single one of us that we eaa he 
able to do. Some ©£ us can't sing in the choir, some of us can't teach a Sf^day 
School class, some of us can't serve in positions of leadership. But every 
single one of you can pray - - "More things are wrought by prayer" — says Tenny- 
son ■— "than this old world dreams of S5 ..... and this I most certainly believe,, 

How let me suggest several things for you that could hold you in good stead, 
Pirsfc 9 recapture for yourself all over again the blessed thought that God exists, 
and because Ha does exist, He's interested in this world, and in you as a person. 
And because He's interested in you as a person, you can pray. He will hear it. 
B&gin on that premiss. 

And then in your waking moments of the day, try to anticipate what the day 
may bring. Some of you may have trouble getting out of bed when you realize 
the wide spectrum of what could lie ahead ©f you, but brace yourself for it! The 
day could bring some new-found joy! The day could open some whole new arena in 
your life in which you nay be called upon to act. The day may bring you some 

grievous burden to carry anticipate that! Accept that it could happen! 

^ And then say, "Dear Gods, 1 can't face it without Your help. Help me to believe 
that You're going to be readily available - - " And then as the day continues, 



blurt out a prayer ovary now and then.** ."Thank you.. God 1 "...... * r Balp ma, 

God." 

empty I es-ss raf.tSag fia be flUcd by tfc* vculfc; ., , . . :;-<; u-.i l-y-^-i fihe bsiy of 
£ 2***2 caf. isso :l':, ..,„*-: walked 5^7. , , ..cav. :/:, :, .:\f,,-;j f,c: v, c .ll what ass 
siioaa s:ot* larar, asa s&rr Rsda:ro£ss5 w?.- ■;.■.-'■ ;,o r-ir >., ,;.••;• >: r ; :; ..- l5 jv.r 3 ^ e ^ a lse;1 
away and aha siaplv said: "Gedi .- . . God I . . . * - - that's the prayer ©£ 
helplessness, and surrender. 

Really mm. It's quite a simple thing when you come to think of it. Ixsd 
folks who get all hutag-up on trying to figure out a way to make prayer become 

'■ " -'■'-■ ■Z-r.ihw our pr.-.; .■ • . 

are leas or short; formal or informal; logical or illogical; elegant or awkward. 
What counts with Him is that they be sincere. The life of this parish is being 
transformed, I'm happy to tell you, because there are people who are learning 
to pray as they've never prayed before, You're either one of them, or you cculd 
i : •• a cf sham* 

And now the text for this sermon, I've reserved it for this very moment. 
the words of our Blessed Lord: 

"MP s ..graying do not heap up empty phrases 
as the gentiles do, for they think that they 
.»ill be heard for their many words ..." 

I hope this sermon . . . well, I hope you'll find it helpful. 

a ;: 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



W 



Seraoa - the Rev. Raymond Shaheen 

Sunday After The Ascension , , , . *fey Ui 3,975 

"THE CHRISTIAN HOME" 

- - T hey Also Serve Who Rebuke 

GRACE, MERCY and Peace from 
©sd our Father and from Jesus 
Christ, our Bleased Lord. Amen. 

Fully cognizant of the fact that today la the second Sunday In May, a 
day that's being Increasingly observed not only as Mother's Day but also as 
the day that celebrates the Festival of the Christian Home. And when 1 come 
to this sacred desk this morning X am also aware of the fact that any sermon 
that's being preached ought always to be Biblically based, Scripturally sound, 
that is, and hopefully relevant that the Scriptural truth being inter- 
preted might attune Itself to the mind and the mood of the day. 

Therefore, fully realising what is happening to the home across the 
nation these days, and perhaps in many parts of the world, and also recognis- 
ing the change in life style:}, etc., a number of different sermon titles came 
to my mind, and a number of different thoughts were triggered. Perhaps you 
would be interested in knowing some of the things that I did consider preach- 
ing about today, realizing that one out of four people, that is one out of 
every four families, moves perhaps at least once a year . . 

...thinking in terms of mobility, X did consider the sermon 
title: "Three For The Road" — which would have been a case 

study in Mary and Joseph and Jesus as they left Bethlehem 
and traveled toward Egypt..** a study in mobility as we 
remember the Holy Family in searching a settling-down place. . . . 

...and maybe you'll be Interested in knowing that when X pat sty 
finger upon the pulssbeat of those who are entering later 
adolescence and young adulthood, and all the apparent uneasiness 






and unsettlemeat that characterize their day, 1 thought of this 

sermon title: "Jesus — » Long Hair And Sandals" as one could 

prepare himself to deal with the nuances and the subtleties and 
the inferences.. ...that could have been a study in life-styles as 
we deal with those who reject certain values of the Establishment.... 

. . .would you believe it, I was tempted to ring the changes and to 
preach a good old Mother's Say sermon, and had I done that, here's 
the title: "Mary, Model For Mothers' .'..... and that sermon would have 
been a study in support of those who place a high value on virginity 
as they anticipate: and prepare for the marriage bed.... 

...one hears a great deal these days about natural childbirth, 

and maybe I could have been bold enough to preach a sermon entitled, 

"Virgin Birth" . or a closer look at what happened chat night in 

a cattle shed — a. study in natural childbirth 

. . . they tell me that last year in Montgomery County alone there 
were more than 1700 runaways, restless youngsters who are looking 
for something that they didn't have at home. Could I have been 
daring enough, and would you have been daring enough to allow me 
to choose a sermon title such as this, as you remember what hap- 
pened in Jerusalem, when Jesus was on the brink of becoming a 
teenager -- - that sermon title would have been: "Jesus, The Case 
o f The Missing Boy" - - a study in Those Who Presumably Need More 
Than What The Home Apparently is Providing, And Get Caught Up In 
What They Think is To Be Found Elsewhere . . . 

...being sware of the fact that the Christian home must recognize 
the role of the father, I could have come up with this one, a 



yviuv ..^yy^yy-^f \-'/ 



simple title: "Joseph: Good Father" - - a study in those who bring 
the divine perspective into the role they've been meant to simply 
and sublimely fulfill, a sermon that would be meant to benefit 
those who have yet to learn what a grand and noble thing it is to 
be a father.. 

....or I also considered this as a possibility* knowing what's hap- 
pening to the home today — this title: "That Home In Hasareth" 
...and it would basically have been a study in values, and there 
would have been brought to our attention all the things we don't 
need, we who place so high a value upon possessions and things 
— all the things we don't need in order to bring up children 
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 
Well, I passed hy all of these in order to preach another sermon, realising 
again that a sermon should be Scripturally sound and relevant. The title may 
surprise you. It's the last thing that perhaps many of you might think that I 
would have chosen to discuss on the second Sunday in May: "THE CHRISTIAN HOME" 
— • subtitle: "They Also Serve Who Rebuke." And the text: from the 27th chap- 
ter of the Book of Proverbs, the 5th verse: 

" Better a frank word of reproof than 
the love that will not speak." 

Now you're entitled to know why the thrust of this sermon, and why I feel 
in duty bound to share; it with you this morning. For over 35 years now God 
has allowed me to be a pastor, and as a pastor I conduct, to all Intents and 
purposes, a confessional, because that's really whac my study is on occasion , 
when people come to tfilk to me about some of the things that trouble thera 
greatly. If the walls of my study could echo and re-echo, you might hear some- 
thing like this: the sad lament of the teenager, "Pastor, if only my parents 
would get off my back ,! - - - or it could be the words of a husband: "Pastor, 



"The Christian Hops - (Who Rebuke) " (4) 

I'm matrix! to a nagging woman - - from the time I get up in the morning until 
the time I go to bed at night it's nag, nag, nag ..." 

...or it could be the words of a wife; "Pastor, I can't 
cope with it any longer. He's always finding fault. 
Nothing that I do pleases him - - even the way I 
walk across the room can irritate him." 

And then I walk away and I reflect, and honestly ncsw 9 I think on occasion 
I can understand why there's the nag, nag, nag, and I can understand why the 
parents rebuke and reprove and don't quite let up, and I can also understand 
why there's the fault-finding. Knowing some people as I do, I can recognize 
the justification for it. But the problem is this: how to dish it out properly, 
how to rebuke wisely? — how to reprove in an acceptable manner? And not only 
that, how to learn to take it? Reproof, rebuke, are some of the basic ingredi- 
ents out of which the sturdy stuff of life is fashioned. 

Did it ever occur to you that ia God's plan for the Christian family, that 
He had this in mind, that within the circle of those who love us we could be 
reproved, and rebuked, just because they are exercising a God-given obligation. 
Now don't get me wrong, I have a perfectly happy home life. But I would be 
less than honest if I didn't tell you that on occasion she cuts me down to 
size! She's mastered the art quite well, and I love her for it. Because you're 
also entitled to knot? that there's an occupational hazard in the ministry. 
People usually are polite to us. Generally speaking, they say nice things 
to us and pat us on the back. And sometimes they do us a disservice . . . now 
for heaven's sake, don't get me wrong — this is no invitation to you to go 
overboard! But within the Christian family we're reluctant at timss to speak 
the word of rebuke or reproof, Just because people may not understand us. But 
there is such a thing as speaking the truth, in love, and because we love them. 

I remember those several summers sgo when we had that delightful holiday 



In England and Scotland, sad we were having dinner in that very gracious dining 
room at Gleneagles....and my ay® wandered around the dining room when all of a 
sudden they fell upon a young man, shabbily-dressed, X dare say, a bit unkempt, 
and wearing a soiled sweatshirt. And these were the words emblazoned on that 
sweatshirt: I'M ALLERGIC TO CRITICISM. Well the more I looked at him, the 
more I thought to myself, well, you've probably had your share of it, brotherl 
And then it also occurred to me what a field day the historian of the future 
can have when he looks back upon our day and tries to interpret the psychologic 
and sociologies phenomena, the clues we're giving him, the graffiti, the bumper 
stickers, the buttons, and the slogans aad the legends that appear on sweat- 
shirts. 

Said the writer of the Book of Proverbs: "Better a frank word of reproof 
than the love that will not speak," Some of us rise up and thank God for peo- 
ple who took us to task. Whatever lessons I have learned in life 1 have 
learned from those who not only have encouraged me when perhaps some good thing 
was being done, but also most certainly from those who have rebuked me and have 

You know it's quite the thing these days to have group therapy and sensi- 
tivity groups. I am old enough to be able to smile when I think of them, be- 
cause I also know the purpose that they're intended to serve. You're supposed 
to reach a certain point where you can feel perfectly free to pounce upon the 
other people, and to rebuke him. In that moment of enlightenment he'll get 
to see himself as he really Is. People pay perfectly good money to be told 
off I...... .and 1 smile broadl}' because I was one of sis kids, and when I was 

growing up with those five brothers and sisters we had group therapy every day! 
We were always telling one another off, and I dare say it served a useful pur- 
pose. And I'm not free from it even to this day when I go back home. Let me 
say again to you, I do believe in God's plan for the family. He expects us to 



" The Christian Home - (%ho Rebuke) (6) 

mature and to grot? and to develop. And part of growing up is receiving the 
corrective. 

Will w® ev®r learn how to do it? Will we ever recognize that it ought to 
be done? Wittingly or unwittingly, sometimes we think that rebuke or reproof 
is something that belongs only to those who don't like us. But I say to you 
with whatever strength I can command, because we love people we owe it to them 
~- in the right way and at the right time — to speak the word of reproof. 
Again let the text be read: "Better a frank word of reproof than the love that 
will not speak." 

Dr. Emssst T. Campbell, the Pastor of Riverside Church in Manhattan once 
tells about a friend of his who went to Daytona Bench. It was the time of 
the year when the students, you see, from the north descended there on a 
spring holiday. They let everything out — completely uninhibited. The 
preacher's friend was walking down the beach and he happened to see a chap 
coming toward him, wearing a sweatshirt — he thought he knew what it said. 
But as the fellow got near to him he put his hands in cross-fashion, like 
this, so as to obliterate the slogan. The preacher's friend was able to detect 
part of a word — VXKG — and then he said to him, "Ah, you're from the Univer- 
sity of Virginia, are you?" And the fellow said, "Ho." And then the preacher- 
friend said, "Well, if you don't mind, why don't you drop your hands and your 
arms and let me see for myself what it says." And rather sheepishly the fel- 
low did. And this wa3 the slogan on that sweatshirts HEIP STAMP CUT VIRGIHXTY, 

The preacher's friend stared him in the eye. The chap was somewhat trou- 
bled - - he did have a measure of integrity. The preacher's friend walked 
away. ....and the chap turned around and followed him, and said, "I suppose 
you want me to take this sweatshirt off and throw it away, don't you?" And 
the preacher's friaad said, "Ho, I have something else in mind. I'll tell 
you what you ought to do. You go straight home with that sweatshirt and take 



"The Christian Bona - (Who Rebuke) (7) 



it off... and then you get It dry-cleaned. ...sad than you put it In a plastic 
case. Because you look like a likeable chap, honestly you do, and you ought 
to make out well. And one of these days when you're finished la collage you're 
going to get married, and I believe you'll probably have several children, one 
of whom could be a gracious, charming daughter. And I suggest to you thafi when 
she's sixteen and she goes out on her first data, you g© to that plastic case 
and get this sweatshirt, and give it to her to wear on her first date/' 

• . .have you any idea hew the young man responded? Much to 
the ersdit of both of them, he said, "If ay father would have 
spoken to me like that, I would never have worn this shirt in 
the first place." 
But you see, there's a tendency on the part of many of us not to rebuke or 
reprove. We may be shocked, or we may smile and walk away. But there comes a 
time when we have to speak up, if the corrective is to be made. Some of %m shy 
away from the responsibility, and some of us, I have to tell you rathe* quickly, 
when we do exercise it, are pretty awkward at it — we're self-righteous. The 
late Archbishop William Temple cut some of us to the quick when he said that it 
is possible to be morally right repulsively. Aad that's something, too, we 
need to remember. 

Well, this is my sermon to you today when we think of the Christian family. 
It also serves when it masters the fine art of rebuking. And ©a good authority, 
don't you forget it — for if you read the New Testament all over again as though 
you had never read it before you'll discover much to your amassment how frequently 
Jesus Christ was cutting people down to size? - - how again and again He rebuked 

■ IH..JM IU1PIJ..JM- mm ■■!! i,iir,^^^i'^ Hi. >Wi.*iibi wii ■ ii'w i\mm — »m*llowiirf>i , ir~7TTwi—T'niT~T — nri — ' — rr~mi — ^^-TTTf — — — "— — — ' — ■»--* 

His disciples » in order that they might grow and develop* 

.....lacw you think about this for a little while . . . 

* & * 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 






_ 



Sermoo - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

Comgiu aion Meditation Pentecost - 5/18/75 

SPIRIT OF GOD, Descend anew upon our 
hearts and make us sensitive to the 
preaching and the teaching of Thy 
Holy Word. Through Jesus Christ 
Thy Son our Lord, who when He cane, 
came preaching. Amen. _^ 

Of the making of bumper stickers seemingly there is no end. By this 
time you have some idea of how I feel about them, I am no proponent of them, 
and I will admit that it took a bit of doing until I finally got around, in 
duty bound I presume, to putting a Somebody Cares sticker on that little black 
buc that I use to scoot around from home to hospital. 

I presume I'd be less than candid if I didn't tell you that I find 
some bumper stickers quite offensive and they irritate me because they seem 
to claim me as a captive audience as I tag along behind the car in front of 
me, unable to pass. But on the other hand there are soma bumper stickers 
that I find quite amusing, and quite clever. And if I were to give the 
award for the buaper-sticker-of-the-week right now, I'd nominate that very 
clever one that I saw only one of its kind that I've seen: 



COP'S BACK - - AUD HE SURE IS MAD 

Do you suppose you could relate that to the Epistle Lesson for today? 
I have. I'm thinking in terms of a group of people who were told by their 
Blessed Lord to stay put. Which they did. And they were promised that He 
would re-appear. Mow today celebrates the fact that God came back to them — 
if we may put it that way. Now let's clearly understand something because 
I want to warn you — this is a rather unconventional interpretation of the 
Day of Pentecost, but, I pray, not unorthodox. Unconventional perhaps — yes. 

Think of it this way: fifty days had come and gone since they had last 
seen Jesus Christ its one of those frequent appearances following the resur- 



reetioa. Por 49 days* that's seven weeks, plus one, they huddled together, 
a group of people. They were lying low, they were keeping cool.... they had 
■:v:l::.'A': v ?/,.i?^>: 

Now whenever people clustered together closely for 50 days, I have a 
suspicion that after a while they got on one another's nerves. I have a 
feeliig that after a while they looked back and they tried to figure what 
it was that went wrong. After all, He did trust them. After all, He did 
make s\ investment in them. But right there, in their number, was as I sup- 
pose a j one of them nay have said, "Mr. Big-Mouth himself" - - 

- - Peter, you know s who was always spouting off and saying how 
wonderful it was going to be because his Lord could always 
count on him. But he is the man who petered out, you know. 
tfhen the chips were down, he wasn't there. And even the 
Good Book records how three different times he denied his 
Master ...... . 

think what a field day they must have had as they clustered 

together on top of one another, waiting this time as they 
were told to wait, and they thought in terms of Judas Iscarlot — 
the betr.iyer, who wasn't there, of course, to defend himself 
if defence ha could have mustered. Think how they tore him to 
bits.... ... 

Then when they looked at one another accusingly — well honestly now, I can't 
picture them having one continuous prayer meeting for fifty days. 1 think they 
must have had their moments of weakness when they let loose at one another • I 
think they must have had their days when they were trying to figure out what 
it was that went wrong, and that's all they talked about. 

Now according to the Scriptures: "The day of Pentecost had fully come—™" 



What happened? Something terrific happened! It was fantastic I The text for 

this brief meditation puts it this way, the 2nd verse of the 2nd chapter of 

the Hook of the Acts of the Apostles: 

'The sound like the rushing of a 
mighty wind . 



* • 



...I'd say so.aething of volcanic proportions — no gentle spring breese, 

no soft zephyr ■ the rush of a migh ty wind — God's back —and lie made 

quite a to-do of it.., ..they were confounded, they were shaken up. They 
didn't know for a while what hit them. They walked around and used such 
words as "We vere bewildered ... we were amaaed ..." People came in 
from all sides and wanted to know what was going on. God's back j-—- put it 
that way. And if you want to say it: God's back — and He sure is mad I 
....as much as to say, you've had enough time huddled 

together. Ycu've spent enough time withdrawn from the 
world. You've spent enough time trying to figure out 
what went wrong. Tou've spent enough time naval-gaging. 
Now let's get with it I Out there is a world to be saved! 
Put your words into action — demonstrate your love! Get 
with it! ..... . 

Would you be willing to accept that? Orthodox or unorthodox, conventional or 
unconventional, there's a truth inherent that I for one cannot ignore, that 
God has a way of coming back to us and stirring us up, shaking us up, and 
saying, "Now get with it!" 

If I were the manufacturer of bumper stickers, I wouldn't settle for the 
one: GOD'S BACK - AND HE SURE IS HAD, I'd go on to say: 



GOD'S BACK - - AMD TIE'S IIKMS TO STAY 

He's taken over! He's! in complete command! 

That's comfortiag, isn't it? God comes back to us. He doesn't keep 
himself away from us forever.. And when He comes back He takes over. He gave 



jl . - 



the orders that day He compelled them, He sent theta out. Not only that, 

when God comes back, He comes back to stay in order to stick with us and 
give us everything that we need, in order that we may persevere with patience 
the course which is ours yet to run. 

And that's a grand and glorious thought- God doesn't send us out into 
the world without the assurance that He'll so with us and stick with us. 
And that, 1 think, is the message that God is giving to the Christian church 
— again and again and again. And I'm willing to ask you to think that every 
time you come to church, it r s like Pentecost all over again. It's like the 
Spirit of God coming to us anew. 

I would like to think that every tine wa come together in this place 
the Spirit of God draws us here, nurtures us — we're given to understand 
that God is still la charge of His world, that God still has a dream, a plan, 

a scheme, a blueprint God still has some line of action. By the time 

the service is over and the Benediction has been pronounced, He's saying, 
"Now get with it! Go out there Do something!" And whenever that hap- 
pens, it has explosive properties, it's like dynamite. 

The older I become the more thrilled I become with the way things begin 
to happen once God is given a chance to be in command. This I most certainly 
believe. 

Now I am happy to tell you that this is also a day of recollection. And 

Pastor David and I, after deliberate study, have agreed that as long as we're 

privileged to be associated with you we can't think of a Pentecost coming or 

going without having the congregation being given a chance to re-affirm their 

Confirmation vows, that on a day such as this we might look back and remember 

at that time and in that place where we gave our life to the Lord .... .where 

we were perfectly content to allow the Lord to take over, to become our Master, 
- 

and where we said we'd be His obedient follower. 



Well, for some of us the days, the years, have passed quickly, and 
we need to go back and remembee what we said, and the promise that was made 
to us. So on this day I'm renewing ray Confirmation vows, Pastor David is 
renewing his. We ask you now to join with us. . . . 

In the Name of the Lord Jesus, Who is the great King and 
Head of the Church, whom on another occasion vou promised 
to love and to serve, I mk you now to look back and to 
remember the ardor of your devotion at that time and the 
noble intention that claimed you. And as you look back 
and you remember will you on this day commit yourself all 
over again to Him so that He may have dominant sway in 
your life? If so, answer: I commit myself anew. 
(I commit myself anew) 

In the Name of the Lord Jesus, Who is the great King and Head of the 
Church I can promise to you that for the days that lie ahead He will con- 
tinue to empower you, to strengthen you, to nurture you, to guide you, 
and to attend you. Amen. 

* &• tfe 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



SSrmon - Pastor R&ymssd Shabuea 

The Second Sunday After Pentecost June 1, 1973 

"IH THE TBS OF EEODUS" 
(Exodus 12:34) 

GRACE, Mercy and peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ B | our Blessed Lord. Amen. 

When our Assistant Pastor was about the age that his eldest son has 
now reached, there was the new name that came into his life with which he 
had to deal. The name was Ernestine Kraatin. You ought to know & little 
bit about her. She was literally dumped on our doorstep when we lived at 
324 Howard Street in South Willlarasport, Pennsylvania. 

Winifred and I, a few short years before that, had been in Europe, 
and we had come to understand firsthand the situation which some of the refu- 
gees after World War II were forced to leave. And because of our knowledge 
of the situation? a family down the road in th© country had sponsored a 
refugee family, and Ernestine was numbered among them. But they couldn't 
cope with Ernestine, and they didn't know how to handle her. 

She had been a domestic overseas, in Latvia. She couldn't speak the 
language. I suppose when she came to us she was 59 or 60 years of age, and 
the day before Thanksgiving literally dumped on our doorstep. Ths family who 
brought her simply went away, and all that Ernestine had was what she was 
wearing. That was our first introduction to the refugee problem. 

And then, so it seemed, for several years that parsonage was like a 
grand hotel. I wish I could list for you the number of different people who 
stayed with us. One of them — Alexander Kurilenko. You would have liked 
him very much. He had all the earmarks of a perfect gentleman. Russian by 
births he had gone to Estonia. ... then when the Cosnmmists came -— listen now! 
•— they came to the front door. . . .he went out the back door. Just as simple 
as that. No suitcase, no time to say farewell. All that he had, on his feet, 



on his back. 

When Winifred and I were in Africa these few short years ago, we 
mat a man, a Britisher, who had been a journalist with the BBC. Moved by 
Christian commitment, he wanted to do his bit in Africa. So he went to 
Uganda. Than General Arain had that expulsion tirade, you know, which is 
still going on — foreigners were asked to leave. He was told that he 
would have to go within 24 hours sad all that ha could take with him — no 
money — but all that he could take with him was what he could put in a 
suitcase. These are the children of the exodus — the people who on short 
notice may have to move out into a whole new world, a world that's entirely 
different from any world that they have ever had before. And as they face 
it they have to travel lightly. There's so little that they can take with 
them. 

One of these days, it could be this week, I don't know — Bob Andersen, 
who was here at 8:30, a member of the Committee on Social Ministry, he'll be 
going down to the bus terminal or National Airport to meet some people that 
he's never met before. Chances are they won't be able to speak English.... 

maybe one of the family might be able to speak a little English and all 

that they'll have will be what they're wearing children of the exodus. 

You may recall from the newsreels that you saw on television. . . 

...the jeep is leaving the compound of the American Embassy. .. 
the Vietnamese run after it, hoping to catch a ride 
...airplanes are leaving the airport... they run across the 
field — hoping to get on before it takes off.... 
....what do they have? Nothing. Except what they're wearing. They are children 
of the exodus. 

Little did I realise when I was planning the series of sermons to be 
preached in this church last year at this time you know that's ray custom 



. 



before X go on ay vacation, I have to put down oa paper the direction in 

which I think we ought to go, in our preaching and in our other activity in 

the course of the year. So the sermons are plotted from September to June. 

...little did I realise last year at this time that when today 

would come, when this sermon would be preached, that it would 

be as relevant as all this! For listen now to the eermon 

title: " IH THE TIME OF EX0PU1 ." Listen now to the text, the 

34th verse of the 12th chapter of the Book of Exodus: 

"So the people took their dough before it was 
leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up 
in their mantles on their shoulders . . . " 

....from one generation to another, always the thousands upon thousands who 

are the sons and the daughters of the children of the exodus, who when the 

time to leave comes, they must leave quickly. And the Children of Israel 

could not so much as take time to bake their bread. Even before the dough 

was leavened, they got up, they left and went out into a new world in which 

they were called to live. 

Sow before every man there comes an open door into a larger and fuller 
life. It could well be that; the precise moment for entering through it will 
leave little precious time for accumulating an assortment of things. Fret 
not, ay friend, when it is all said and d&&® only the basics are necessary. 
Have you ever taken stock of the basics? Have you ever taken time to con- 
sider what it is that you really need most in order to live? If some strange 
fate came your way, and tomorrow morning at six o'clock you had to take to 
the road never again to return to the place where you now live, &M you could 
take with you only urisat you could carry, think of all the things you'd leave 
behind which as of this moment you cherish, and you prise so highly. 

this sermon this day is far more relevant than you may cars to admit, 
my friend. Bear with me for a moment. Ed Anthony is a member of this congre- 



gatlon. Bt'soa the Public Relations staff of Pspco. Hot long ago In his 
home he was telling a f aw of us who had gathered there hour real the energy 
crunch actually is. And he gave soma of us to understand that it could mean, 
in the forsaeable future — you got that, didn't you, the forseaaM e future — 
that change in our life style » in our way of living ~~ a new world in which 
we'd be called to enter, so that figuratively speaking we could bacons® the 
children of the exodus. 

It's a fool's paradise in which some of us go on living, you know. We 
keep saying to ourselves, what with our American sophistication and our scien- 
tific know-how, we'll always have enough energy. Well, we'll see. But tony 
tells me that the day could corns when we'd be living in only a part of our 
houses, because we can't afford to heat the rest. Or on a day such as yester- 
day, or today or tomorrow, if we would run the air conditioner, it might be in 
only one room In the house, and we'd level off there with our existence. 

...you can't think of it, can you, of getting down to living with 
just one car, instead of two or three? 

...you can't think of It, can you, of sitting down and pondering 
whether you go to market to the shopping plaza today, or 
whether you salt until you find out from your neighbor's 
neighbor as to whether you can pool your resources and all 
of yen go in one car? 

...you can't think of living in that kind of a day, can you? But it 
could happen ... 

...or having to give up that dream home, you sea, the second home? 
Well, what with the tax bite... inflation. ...unemployment... and a recession 
that could last longer than what we may cars to admit to ourselves. The war- 
time economy, you sea, has come and gone* to say nothing of other nations of 
the world who want their share of the good things of the earth and who could 



■■;• V. ...'-:.■ ............ . ■.:- ■ 



by fore® take it away from us, you @s@» 

Hhat does that meant It could mean that as we face that new world out 
there we'd have to travel lightly! And soma of us have never thought about 
A?, ::;;?;;,;: uS" 1 ,, 

I wonder if you'll understand me if I use a very personal illustration 
now. Grandma, God bless her 3 now living with us, 90 years of age — she's 
facing another world out there. Everything she owns now can be put in on© 
aultcase. By circumstances she's mastered the art of traveling lightly. 
She has no deed to any property on tha face of this earth. And if I were to 
tell you what little she has in the bank, you'd be absolutely appalled. And 
because there is such © thing as old age assistance — it's a paltry check 
that she receives — but she's happy. She's learned the necessity of travel- 
ing light, because while all other things are being taken away, the Inventory 
of the soul is pretty large. And essentially that's what matters most. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you this a bit earlier in the sermon. There was 
a Christian out in Ceylon — what's the name of that island now, the new name 
that it got some time ago?. . . . and as this Christian was traveling along 
on the train (I can visualise it, I've experienced it myself) ■— packed, you 
see, every available seat taken, and people standing . . • and because people 
are so poor, if when you're asleep they could even steal the sandals off of 
your feet. Well bleos this Christian's soul — his earthly possessions as 
he moved from one place to another in that old brown beat-up satchall that he 
puts in the luggage track above his head. But he's tired and he's weary and 
sleep overtakes him. But ha f ights , sleep, you see, because every sow and 

So he sleeps only fitfully, trying to take care of those earthly possessions 
that he prises. ....only to get awake at four o'clock in tha morning to 



. i : S, 



©a I slept Ilk® a baby!" ~ - he ne longer had to worry about what he waatad 
to hold on to, that could b« taken away! And now it was gone. 

We are the children of tha exodus. God is always telling us about a 
new world that's waiting there for us to enter. And when the word conies to 
go, to face it, think of all the things that we prise that we don't have to 
take with us. 

I'm wondering if you'd indulge ma for a moment. I've told some of you 
this before. My father , at age 18, was also a son of the exodus, a refugse-of- 
sorts. And in Lebanon he was attracted by the brave new world which was America, 
So he asked his parents to do something that I'm not sure I could have taken 
from the two sons that we have: "Let me go!" His parents let him go. 

They gathered together two hundred dollars to pay his passage. So he 
got on the steamer in tha harbor at Beirut. I made a pilgrimage there once 
:-;"-^-3f-. , ': -i 9 »r St* - ^.v ':;>- ft.: -<\ - ft \> . : ■■nil &«: ' i'sc ,. > 
his departure. For when he got on that steamer in 1902, late in the afternoon, 

ftift:: ■ .'::::.'.• ft.T,:\, , . : ft: : • ;■:■.. .:..:.:-; '. ft:.:. u;ftft::;ft 
the deck when darkness had settled in, he looked back to the hills of home, 
and there, miles up the hillside from Beirut, a flame against the background 
of the black night. His mother had dipped the branches of a cedar tree in oil 
and ignited them, and that was her farewell to her son of the exodus. All that 
he brought with him into the new world was what he could carry with his hands 
and what he could wear on hlu back. But what he needed most he still had — 
a bit of courage, a generous portion of faith, and an abiding measure of love. 

I have no idea of the kind of an exodus that you may ba called upon to 
make, but 1 do know that these are the things that we need most. And yet the 
lamentable thing is, we spend most of our time and energy for the things in 
the time of exodus tisat can't take with us.... and really don't need. 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Past^E' Raymond Shaheen 

The Third Sunday After Pentecost ,__.. ^■ M _^_, — iS&SJhtJ&Ul. 

"a mm, m his hahd" 

(John 13:3-4) 

GSAGE, MERCY and Peace from God ©ur 
Father sad from His Son Jesus Christ 
our Blessed Lord. Amen.. 



How accurate the report is I cannot tell you, but I have bees told that 
when the Humble Oil Company wanted to switch over and form the Exxon Corpora- 
tion, that they paid a handsome sum ©f money to a professional outfit to come 
up with the right kind of a name that might fee appealing, easily recognisable* 
and that might from that moment constitute their trademark. All of this leads 
m© to say to you, suppose you were charged with the responsibility of comiag 
up with some kind of a symbol, some kind of a logo — L-O-G-0. My friend 
Hallie Wright, our fellow member in the parish who is involved in publications 
at Catholic University has done this sort of thing for them. And sometimes 
she thinks that we in Saint Luke Church ought to have a distinctive symbol 
that is applicable to what we represent in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

And suppose I were to say to you: Would you be willing to serve on a 
committee, not to find a trademark for Saint Luke but to think in terms of 
an alternate symbol for the Christian faith? You know, we are branded — it's 
the cross that becomes the symbol of our Christian religion. Suppose you were 
to dismiss that from your mion and you were charged with the responsibility of 
suggesting a series of symbol:? that could easily identify what the Christian 
church stands for? 

Now I know you haven* t thought about this beforehand. Let me give you 
the benefit of some of the things which you would perhaps consider . . . 
- - some of you might consider a symbol that would represent 
a pulpit and a Bible. .. .because when you think of Jesus 
Christ, the founder of the Church, He did come preaehing - - 



and He opened up so people an understanding of God the 

ilk© of which they'd n&ver had before. So as He spent a 

great deal ©f His time interpreting recorded truth, and 

also opening for thgm new ways by which that truth could 

be r@levae.fc, maybe you'd settle for & symbol: Pulpit and Bible. 

- - Soma of ycu might be traditionalist enough, and you'd say 

let's go back to what the early Church did.... we won't improve 

on them.... and we'll settle for a Fish. Now, that was the 

symbol for the Christian Church ia the early days, because 

as 1 understand it, the Greek word for fish is ichthus, and 

it also represents the acrostic related to the initials or 

the letters for the name of JESUS.... and by that of coarse 

they made the sign of the Fish, and that related to the Christian 

believers. 

- - some of yoa might think as an alternate choice you'd settle 

very easily for Bread and a Cup of wine . . . because Jesus 
Christ introduced that Sacrament which supercedes that ancient 
Passover for the Christian. ...and when you think of Bread and 
Wine you think of a new life that's given to us by Jesus Christ, 
by which we are nurtured and nourished. 

Well, let your mind have free sway for a while, but whatever you do, 
listen to me now when I suggest one that you ought to take very, very seriously. 
In all likelihood you may never have thought of it — a symbol that does become 
the Christian faith: a Towel. 

Bow you'll understand that when I read for you the text for today's 
sermon, the test that has triggered all of these thoughts, recorded as the 
3rd and 4th verses of the 13th chapter of the Gospel according to Johns 



..........' r ,;3; 



"Jesus knowing that the Father had siy en all 
things into Ms hands, and that he was come 
from Sod and wo uld go to <*oa B took a towel 
in his hands; . 



ii 



How yon* re entitled to a bit of historical perspective. Always go 
back when you read Scripture and try to appreciate as bast you can the 
historical setting* Maybe I can help you now. 

As I understand it — a bit of speculation undoubtedly , but let me 
have that measure — as I speculate, the word had gone out that Jesus Christ 
wanted to have a special session with His disciples. This was the last week 
that lie spent with them. .... this was to be the last night that He would spend 
with them, and He wanted to be with them and with them alone. He got th<s 
word out — among the disciples — they were to meet at an appointed time 
and in an appointed place, and they ware going to have supper together and 
also to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. 

He made arrangements with the host, and 1 suppose He may have indicated 
to the host, "If you don't mind, because of the nature of our meeting, we 
don't want any extra people around. You can be there to get things in order, 
but once we get theire ..." He may even have suggested that he could take 
his leave too. This was to be the night that Jesus would spend specifically 
with the disciple band. 

Now when thay would get there, you should also know that they were rather 
up-tight, because somewhere along the line they had an argument among them- 
selves. Human as they were, after spending three years In this disciple 
company, some of them had rather grand notions about where they ought to be 
in relationship to oae another. And so they were arguing among themselves as 
to who would be recognised as the greatest. 

As they sat there* maybe Matthew had built in his own mind quite a ease 



for himself as to why he was the kind of parson ha was, what progress he 
had made in the Christian faith , and why perhaps he had an edge over the 
others. I'm inclined to think that Peter did some tall thinking along 
these lines , and because Peter was the kind of person that ha was, he may 
have bean very well impressed by his own credentials, real or otherwise. 

And so you eould take tha list this was the kind ©£ thing that was 

going on in their own minds. Jesus Christ , you may rest assured, was per- 
fectly aware of this. 

Now while they were pre-oeeupied . . . 

...I should also tall you that ordinarily there was something now 
that should have bean done that wasn't done. If you've lived in 
the Middle Hast, if you've traveled there, if you know anything 
about Oriental customs, you know that there is always a person 
assigned , a servant, who would wash the feet of tha guests — 
that was traditional. It was one way hy which you could be 
relaxed when you sat down in the company of your host....... 

... .well, going back again, I presuiaa that maybe Jesus had suggested to the 

host that there be just a limited number of people around and even indicated 
maybe that a servant wasn't necessary. But at any rate, the eye of Jesus 
went over to that corner of tha room where there was a pitcher and a basin 
and a towel. 

How all tha rest of tha disciples, you may believe this, new very well 
that this was the Mad of thing that ought to be done. But sensing that it 
wasn't being done, none of them volunteered to do it. You can understand 
why - - when ©aeh in his own way had some grandiose notion as to his position 
in life, and if he wanted to have some measure of preferment, he wasn't going 
to stoop to the level of a servant. You know who did. Jesus did. 



"A Towel in Hta Hand" (5) 



How is order to better appreciate that, hear me out on this. It takes 
a while for people to recognize what a per sea really is. Sometimes our real 
nature comes out immediately, and even if it does, it's only later on that 
people recognize us for what we actually are. I'm simply suggesting to you 
that I don't think that all of the disciples were perfectly aware of exactly 
who Jesus Christ was, that is as Scriptures later record it — that "in Him 
all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell . . " - - it was only in the post- 
Resurrection period that they could honestly believe and say to himself, that 
He was God in human form. 

Now I have a feeling that Jesus Christ may have said to Himself that 
night, if He were as human as w® are — "It's high time that people know who 
I am. .......I think if Jasus Christ had been as human as we are, he would 

have pulled rank, and He would have said, "I've had enough of this!-— you 
know exactly as an outfit that you're side-stepping something here that 
needs attention. Because I am who I am, I want my feet washed right now! — 

Get with it!" .....Ha didn't talk like that. It is not the nature of 

love to demand. And even God, because He is God, is willing to humble Him- 
self and take on the form of the servant. Remember how the Scripture puts 
it - - "Jesus Christ having came from God, and knowing that He would go to 
God". . . took a towel, and washed the disciples' feet. 

So I suggest to you that when you think in terras of a symbol for the 
Christian faith, give a high sad holy regard to a towel, the symbol of 
humility and the symbol of service. 

It's not easy for us to remember it. There was a cartoon once of a 
man in a barber chair, a man of sosie affluence.... there was a bib arouad the 
man's neck. ... the barber was busy at work with his tensor ial skill.,,., his 
hand came out like that and the manicurist was doing her job and at his 



"il To w el iu His Hand" {6} 

feet sat the bootblack, shining his shoes. The caption for the cartoon: 

MAILING IT BIG 

•..•as though one arrives in life, 
you see, when things can be done for his: ...... that no man has really begun 

to live until he can command service. 

This is absolutely contrary to the basic concept of the Christian reli- 
gion. He who is no less than God humbled Himself and took upon Himself the 

form of a servant He who had so great power never abused it, never paraded 

it, never misused it. Today's issue of PARADE has an article by Lloyd Shearer. 
It deals with General Haig. The reference, as you might know, in that article 
primarily deals with a former President of the United States. The author re- 
fers to the former President in these words: 

"He eoveted power. He relished it. He was obsessed with it — 

he used it, he abused it. He thrived on it, hating passionately to 
relinquish a scintilla. His behavior in many circumstances was 
despotic and Imperialistic ..." 
...sad things to say about any aan. Sadder still when it has to be said about 
a person who reaches a pinnacle of success. 

And for some of us who have viewed Theodore White's television production 
of "The Making of The S^rasident" last night, we could hardly believe what we 
were seeing all over again, that the man who had received the greatest mandate 
from the American people should go from office the way he did.,... and that peo- 
ple should write the kind of thing that I've just read for you! Whether you 
believe this to be true about that man or not is beside the point for the moment, 
but it's been said of others - - the abuse of power, the misuse of it. 

E^ery single one of us has some kind of power, power to us© over our- 
selves, power to use over those who are near to us every single on® ©f us 

has some measure. Jesus Christ sets before us the example of using that power 



... ■■ '.■ .... 



to the good of other people. I'm convinced that: as we live and work with 
other people, that as we see certain isolated incidents, we can read into 

that incident itself the total concept of that persoa aad his life. Her© 

la that lament i.® the upper room when Jesus Christ readied for a pitcher and 
water, s basis and a towel, He ©passed their eyes to the kind of persoa He 
ajwajrsjraa - - » nesting eh® asads of other people* 

Let's give ourselves ecm© seasure of credit. We're ao&iy Inteatioaed. 
We'd like to do something , s?onder£ul and grand and glorious — tsosssstly we 
would I And then we belittle ourselves asa say 9 "It's not in the books for 
me to go to a place like Africa — halfway around the world — to meet some 
pressing seed - - !! ,.,».,.aial then to think that your life is of little 
value. For shame up©& you, ay frisad! Wherever God has put you, ask Him 
to open your eyes and see if in soma corner close by there lsa 9 t a basin, 
and a pitcher. ....and a towel. 

* * * 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymoad Shaheen 

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost June 15, 1975 

"ABOUT THE BIBLE" 
(John 20:31) 

GRACE, Mercy sod peace from God 
our Father and front Hia Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 

Three of the most pleasant years of my life were spent in Gettysburg. 
These were the years when I was a student la our theological seminary there. 
Most of our time, as you might presume, was spent on the Hill, about a mile 
from the center of the town. We were isolated, but that didn't worry us 
overmuch presumably, we were serious-minded, and having reached the graduate 
school level, it was small wonder that to all intents and purposes we were 
preoccupied with our studies. But occasionally we did take a sortie into 

town, perhaps to indulge ourselves in a coke or a hard pretzel we couldn't 

Afford much beyond that. 

And as we walked into town. ...I can remember it as though it were last 
night.... down there not too far away from the center of town on the left-hand 
side of the street, f;her© was that certain house where invariably, so it 
seemed to me as we passed, there was always a man seated near behind the 
window. He was Immobilised. The information that we had received, and par- 
tially so, was that he had suffered a paralysis of sorts. And I presume his 
members of his family were thoughtful enough to put him there in a chair so 
that he could see the passing world on the outside, and draw some measure of 
stimulation from it. 

Because we had this parslal information, and because we recognised his 
affliction, we only east a glance in his direction. We looked at him hurriedly, 
simply getting a glimpse, and then we'd go on. But like as not, whenever we 



"About The Bible 1 ' (2) 



passed that house, there was the man in the window «, 

If you were to ask me now to describe his facial features, I couldn't 
do it. I cannot describe for you the color of his eyes nor of his hair. But 
X can tell you that had we passed that window and he wouldn't have been there, 
we might have been shaken up a bit. We were conscious of the fact that there 
was the man in the window. 

How there's a second thing that comes to my mind quickly as I recall 
those years in Gettysburg. Down on the other side of the street we passed 
by what was then known as Christ Church, still known as Christ Church but also 
affectionately referred to as the College Church in Gettysburg. A series of 
steps led to the main entrance, and there not far from the first or second 
step there was a memorial marker. Now you know very well that Gettysburg is 
studded with monuments, and Christ Church is no exception. This memorial 
marker is in the form of a pedestal, I presume maybe four feet high, and on 
top of it is the replica of a Bible. If I have my facts correct, this is a 
memorial to a preacher, a Lutheran pastor, who dicsd during the Civil War, the 
war between the States. 

Now you are thinking to yourself, as wall you should, what's so relevant 
about these two illustrations this morning, Pastor? What do you have in mind? 
Why do you feel so constrained to bring them to our attention? 

You see, I'm fully aware of the fact that this sermon today bears the 
title: "ABOUT THE BIBLE." And the sermon has a text, as well it should, the 
closing verse of the fourth Gospel the 31st verse of the 20th chapter of 

This is the way it reads: 

"But these are written so that you may 
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the 
son of God, and that believing you may 
h ave life through his name . . . " 



;.i,_ ,.,_ ; . .. J_ ,:, 



Now recognisa this, will you, that roost people who write a book may 
prepare an Introductory chapter or a preface, which is included at the be gin- 
ning, bo that the author wants to know that anyone who picks up his book will 
have the benefit of what he had in mind as ha wrote that book, and that as 
they read it from page to page they will not fail to catch the meaning which 
lies inherent in every sentence. Mot so John. For whatever reason that 
seemed important to him, when ha wrote the fourth Gospel he waited until he 
had written all 20 chapters, and then, as though he were putting his pen aside, 
he reached for it again, and then wrote these words: 

..."This is why these things have been written? 
Now if you don't catch the point, I suppose he's saying 
to us, "Go back and start all over again, and keep 
reading until you can clearly understand why I went to 
all the trouble to write what I have written. And if 
you don't see it this way, you've missed what I had in 
mind ... 
Meanwhile back in Gettysburg . . . there Is relevance, my friend, because as 
I continue to reflect upon that man with the face in the window, I think 
that's the way it is with a lot of people with regard to the Scriptures. 

They look at the Scriptures at a glance they only get a casual glimpse 

of the Scriptures. They're conscious of the fact that the Scriptures are 
there, and they might be somewhat shook-up if when they walked into the 

room they discover that the Bible had disappeared just as we might be 

troubled if one day we walked down and the man in the window wouldn't have 
been there. 

There are people like that as far as the Bible is concerned. They 
know it only by a glance, they know it only as they've taken an occasional 



"A bout The Bible" (4) 

glimpse - - just as I could not describe for you the facial features of the 
man, Just as I could not describe for you the color of his hair or the color 
of his eyea, ao there are people who when they think of the Scriptures can- 
not deal with the details, cannot give you the specifics. Alas for us, 
little would we realise that we leveled off so easily on so little that we 
knew about that man in the window. It never concerned us at the time how 
much more we night have learned if we had taken the trouble to find out. 

Now I say to myself at this distance, threa-and-a-half decades later — 
...he might have been a retired array general — an old 
soldier, who at some time in life had received thia 
affliction, but ha said, "Take me back to Gettysburg — 
let me live out the rest of my life there . . " 
...he might have been a college professor — Gettysburg is 
a college town — he might have been so stricken that 
ha said, "If I can't be of any use to anybody, at least 
let me live in the town that means so much to me . . . " 
...he may have bean a writer.... he may have been an inventor 
....he may have bean a man of God! — a minister of the 
Gospel! We never took the trouble to find out. We 
simply settled for the fact that ha was the face in the 
window, the man in the chair. 
„ . . . how our lives might have been enriched , I suggest to you now, if we would 
have taken the trouble to find out, what we might have learned from him. 

So I say to you, there are people Ilka that regarding the Scriptures. 
They level so easily for the little that they know about it, and become con- 
tent, failing to realise how much more they could know. 

Now as far as the marker to that preacher who died in the War Between 
the States, I'm suggesting to you that that's the way it Is, too, with some 



<s> 



people with the Bible they put the Bible on a pedestal, they revere it, 

they respect it, they give it a holy place! There are some folks I know who 
would never think of putting anything on top of the Bible, they give it such 
exaltation — it's in a class all by itself. But sadly enough, for some peo- 
ple, like that brons© replica of the Bible on that pedestal in Gettysburg,, 
-duoso uhi: p.".ip;'--- Ao r- "'•■:■■.-; m ' ! . : """ ' '--■■■ '- : "■'•■'■.■; ogso 

people with their Bibles. The page is never turned. 

Didn't I tell you about ray friend who came from the ?*lddle Fast to 
enroll as a student in Gettysburg in the years that I was there — his brand 
new introduction to the West. He had a photographic mind. He was an astute 
observer of the human scene. And he told me once when he went in to visit 
a student in his room, he was much pleased whan he discovered over there on 
the stand two candles... between the two candles a cross, and in front of the 
cross, a Bible. And the man from the Middle East was impressed and said to 
himself, 'Here is a man of pious devotion, here is a man who must be guiding 
his life by the teachings from the Good Book. ' 

....a month later he had occasion to go back to 
visit the student — remember I told you ha was the 
man with the photographic mind — the candles were 
there.... the cross was there.... so was the Bible — 
open to the very same page! 
....there are people like that regarding the Scriptures. And all the while the 
words of John ought to be searing our conscience: "These are written for a 
purpose." 

According to good Lutheran tradition, it's the Bible that leads us to 
Jesus Christ. And until Jesus Christ comes into clear and sharp focus, until 
V- you see Him as something mora than teacher, something more than just a good 
man, something more than just another prophet, something mora than just an 



"About The Bible" (6) 

exemplar of our behavior..,. ..John says you really haven't read this hook. 
You really haven't t£km, a good look at what I ha?e been trying to say to 
yeu - - "These thin*?® are written that you might believe that Jesus Christ 
is Lord, and in believing it you might have life . . " - - until you know 
Him so well that His life becomes one in your life and His spirit becomes 
your spirit. 

We have our moments when we think of days gone by. By this time you 
know full well that I grew up in a small town, and life was lass complicated. 
My home-town Pastor was the kind of a pastor who had a minimum of administra- 
tion in his parish, which meant that very easily for any given number of 
afternoons in the week he'd go walking down the street, stopping at this 
house and stopping at that house, just making a call ....pretty much in the 
same fashion as a Prudential Insurance agent with that debit book under his 
arm, thick as it was, with all those nickel and dime and quarter accounts a 
week, you know. Invariably there would be somebody at home. It was not a 
very common thing for women to work in those days . . . 

...I remember my home-town Pastor telling me about the day 
he made the call, knocked on the door, and a bright-eyed five- 
year-old, I think it was, answered the door — cute as all get- 
out, you know — "Come on in, Reverend" — (they didn't use the 
word 'Pastor' in those days as we now use it) — "My Mommie, 
she's busy in the kitchen." It was strawberry preserve time, 
she had tear work cut out for her for the moment. The preacher 
was an interruption. .... the little boy kept him occupied until 
Mommie came from the kitchen, talked a blue streak. .... 
....and then he said, "Over there is our Bible. I can tell 
you everything that's in it !".... and before the preacher could 
say, 'Isn't that final' the little boy said, "There's a 



'About The Bible" (7) 



four-leaf c lover . . . c o • '* 

There's 00 much more la the Bible then that, you know. That's why John shook 
his head, X presume, as he reached for his pen again and said, "For God's sake, 
don't let them miss the point I It's the Bible that leads us to Jesus Christ." 
Keep reading! and reading! and reading, and reading, until He comes into 
clear and sharp focus. This Book is the Book of Life! It's meant to become 
alive in your heart. 

.....And that's why I can understand why that preacher in New York 
City shook up his congregation when the time came to lay the comer- 
stone for the addition of the building that he absolutely refused to 
allow them to put a Bible in the corners tone as we are wont to do. 
For, said he, ehe Bible was never meant to be encased in stone. 
It's meant to be read, and to be studied. Its truth is meant to be 
fashioned from our lips and lived out from our hearts! 
...now you think about that for a little while .... 



* 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 
St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles June 29, 1975 



"WHOSE WE ARE" 



(I John 3:2) 

CONTINUE to quiet our minds and hush 
our hearts, God, that we should be 
made sensitive to the interpretation 
of Thy Word . In the name of Jesus 
Christ, who when He came, came preach- 
ing. Amen. 

Clive Barnes, the drama critic of the NEW YORK TIMES, has given an excellent 
appraisal of George C. Scott's portrayal of Willie Loman in the revised produc- 
tion of " The Death of a Salesman. " Currently it's being performed in the Circle 
In The Square Theatre in Manhattan. 

You may remember Arthur Miller's work that was dramatized shortly after World 
War II, a deliberate attempt on the part of the playwright to get people in our 
society to pay attention to the likes of Willie Loman. In fact, if I remember it 
correctly, that's one of those telling lines in the play. His sons have become 
impatient with him. They've lost respect for their own father. They take their 
mother to task because she is as compassionate and as considerate as she is. And 
then she replies by saying, "But somebody has to pay attention to his kind." 

Willie Loman at 63, you see, is a burned-out salesman, and the only thing 
he has of value now, as his life comes to an end, is a very modest life insurance 
policy. He wrote for himself, unwittingly I presume, his epitaph, when, according 
to one of the lines in the pay he says, "I feel rather temporary about myself." 
Another line in the play as I remember it: his family dutifully gather around 
the grave where he's buried. As they are about to go away, one of the sons says 
something to this effect: "What a pity - - he never really knew who he was!" 

Now all of this has triggered thoughts in my mind that constrain me to 
preach to you the sermon that I'm about to share. For it seems to me in recent 
time that I've met many more than I'd like to admit who are like Willie Loman, 



"Whose We Are" (2) 



who never really find out who they are. In the psychologist's jargon, we 
have any number of people on our hands who are dealing with an 'identity 
crisis. ' 

Could that be true for you? Do you really know who you are? I sug- 
gest to you that not until you know who you are can you do what you're 
meant to do and can you move in the direction in which you're meant to move. 
Not until a man knows who he is can he really begin to live life meaning- 
fully. 

It's hard for me to understand, of course it is - - would you believe 
me if I were to tell you I don't know that I ever had an identity crisis in 
my life. I was fortunate enough to be part of a family of six kids, fortu- 
nate enough to have a set of parents who loved me, as they loved the others, 
and who provided for us as they provided for the others — who saw us grow- 
ing up, getting married, and providing them with grandchildren . . . and to 
have an extended interest in us even to the very day that they died. 

I never had an identity crisis. To begin with, I knew that I belonged 
to someone, and I belonged to a particular group. But then as I grew and 
developed I recognized the place of the church in my life — the pastor who 
baptized me was the pastor who confirmed me, was the pastor who placed hands 
in blessing upon my head when I was ordained... .was the man who wrote me a 
very precious letter as I began my ministry. As the years continued to grow 
and develop, I realized that I was part of the greater family known as the 
Family of God. I belonged, and because I belonged I was attached. And in 
this relationship I had a measure of identity that has held me in good stead. 

It's hard for me to understand how some people can have an identity 
crisis, and I hope you'll be patient with me if you're struggling with one 
right now, because I do want to understand. It's hard for me to understand 



"Whose We Are" (3) 



for this reason: an individual psychologist has said that most of us in 
our waking moments spend 90% of our time thinking of ourselves! — if not 
directly, then about the things related to us. ... thinking about our health, 
our home, our family, our job, our car, our past, our present, our future, 

our neighbors, our friends, our children always thinking about things 

related specifically to us. And if we should spend so much time thinking 
about ourselves, then doesn't it stand to reason that it ought not be very 
long until there looms upon the horizon some clear and sharp focus of what 
we are, and who we are? 

But then, my friends, the psychologists tell me tbat we differ from 
hour to hour. I may not be the same person this afternoon at four o'clock 
as I am right now standing in this pulpit - - basically the same, perhaps, 
but other traits and characteristics may appear that don't appear now... 
...or a man may change from person to person. Some of 
you have a way of bringing out the better side of me. 
Some of you have a way of appealing to the base side of 
my nature. .. .and I may change from person to person as I 
may change from hour to hour, or as I may change from 

situation and predicament from situation to predicament 

Maybe I can understand why some people have some trouble trying to find 
out just who the real You happens to be. My friend Charlie Bettis, a member 
of this parish, sent me within the week a clipping authored by Robert D. 
Weber. It bears the title, significantly enough: " The Many I Am. " He's 
dealing with the whole matter of self-concept which has dominated much that ' s 
been discussed and written by psychologists galore. He quotes a poem written 
several hundred years ago by an unknown author. It's titled: "Four Me n" — 
really he's only talking about one . . . 



" Whose W e Ar e" (4) 



"It chanced upon a winter's night 
Safe sheltered from the weather, 
The board was spread for only one, 
Yet four men dined together. 
There sat the man I meant to be, 
In glory, spurred and booted. 
And close beside him, to the right, 
The man I am reputed. 
The man I think myself to be 
His seat was occupying. 
Hard by the man I really am, 
Who to hold his own way trying. 
And all beneath one roof we met, 
Yet none called his fellow brother. 
No sign of recognition passed - - 
They knew not one another." 

Weber goes on to say that while the poet talked about four men, within one 

man, he says, maybe we might say that in this critical concept of self there 

may be seven of us existing within one person. So he puts it this way: 

There is the ME I think I am 

There is the ME I wish I were 

There is the ME I really am 

There is the ME I try to pro ject 

There is the ME others perceive 

There is the ME I used to be 

There is the ME others try to make me 
Well, frankly, I'm not going to let myself get hung up by this kind of 
reasoning. I'm going to suggest now that you take very seriously the passage 
of Scripture that is uppermost in my mind at this particular moment. It re- 
mains in my mind at this moment because it's been haunting me all week — 
in fact we dealt with it in depth with two different groups on Wednesday of 
this past week. The passage of Scripture is written in the first Epistle of 
John, the 3rd chapter, the 2nd verse, and this wonderful man of God puts it 
down this way: "We are the children of God " ~ - that's what he sayd. And 
I presume he must have sounded a Te Deum in his soul when it dawned on him 



"Whose We Are" (5) 

that there wasn't anything temporary about him when he thought about him- 
self, but he was very happy to introduce the eternal dimension — he was 
identified with God. 

With two different groups this past week we had an interesting exercise. 
Each person was given three pieces of scrap paper because he would have to 
deal with three different questions. And each piece of scrap paper would 
be used to answer one of the questions. 

— The first question was: Write down in your own words 

and for your own satisfaction — you don't 
share this with anybody else — 
Just what you think othe r peopl e think of yo u 
Now some of us do have some idea of what some other people think of us. That s 
why some of us find it hard to sleep at night, because we refuse to believe 
that we could be as bad as all that. Or as one person said on Wednesday 
night, she thoroughly enjoys being well-thought-of. We're intuitive enough 
to have some idea of what other people think of us, and it does influence us 
in our thinking about ourselves. 

— The second question was: 

What do you really think abou t yourself? 

Your appraisa l? 
I had a chap tell me last Sunday night after Vespers that part of his problem 
in life is that he's wrestling with low self-esteem. That's a very painful 
thing, to not have a very high opinion of yourself. I think sometimes we're 
crippled by one of two things - - either too high an opinion of ourselves, 
or too low an opinion of ourselves. 

— But the third question was the most important: 

What do you think God thinks about, you ? 

How do you stack up in His eyes? 



"Whose We Are" (6) 



That's exactly what John was talking about, and he said, "We're the children 
of God." - - we are the sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father. Now if you 
have an identity crisis, it ought to be resolved, my friend. If I were not 
a Christian, if I were not related to the Christian church for any other 
reason than this, I draw a great measure of satisfaction in the realization 
that the Christian church keeps hammering away at the truth that we are the 
children of God, and that Jesus Christ came into the world to prove to us 
how much the Heavenly Father loves us and is concerned for us - - that we were 
meant to live in this world as children of the Heavenly Father. ... that we were 

not meant to act like animals that we were not meant to simply live out 

our existence horizontally, but rather that we were to give constant recogni- 
tion to the vertical dimension in the relationship that we have with God. 

Alvin Rogness, bless his soul, has done an excellent thing in a little 
book that he wrote a few years back, in which he pictures for us God saying to 
each one of us, "I'm going to let you live on my island called Earth for a 
little while. But I want you to know who you are. You're simply someone 
who is living there for a little while. Your real home is Heaven. But while 
you're on Earth, live like my son, live like my daughter — live like My 

child. reflect a bit of Heaven. Deal with people on the basis of love 

and truth and justice. Don't allow yourself to adapt to the ways of the 
world, because I'm sorry to tell you - - " Alvin Rogness has God saying to 
us - - "Some of your brothers have forgotten who they are. But don't you 
forget! And then some day when it's all over, I'll call you back home to 
where you belong. But in the meantime, live like my children." 

I am pleased that the Lutheran Church is discovering all over again the 
meaning of baptism, for in baptism, according to the Lutheran theology, the 



"Whose We Are" (7) 



original sin is cancelled out. But for those who can't appreciate that 
theology, settle for this, will you: in baptism the sign and seal of God's 
favor is stamped upon us - - we're made one within the family. We belong. 
And that means identification. 

Winifred and I used to go over to Princeton some of the summers to 
attend a conference there on the grounds of the theological seminary. We 
have precious memories of being under those great elm trees when Harris 
Franklin Kirk, then the beloved pastor of Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, 
would 'hold court' as we used to say. He'd talk to us out of his life and 
of his experience. With tremendous satisfaction in his heart he told us 

about the days when he grew up in the deep south 

.... and he had an old colored mammy who put him into 
bed at night.... and as she'd tuck him into bed she'd 
say, "Harris, I've got to be good to you — you're 
God's child." 

if only we could be good to one another, remembering to whom they 

belong . . . 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Seventh Sunday Afte r Pentecost July 6, 1975 



"EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 

For what it may be worth to you, if anything at all, you may be pleased 
to learn that I spent a great portion of Independence Day — that's the 
proper title, isn't it, for the 4th of July? — by reading the Declaration of 
Independence in its entirety. I'm glad that I did, and now I regret that I 
hadn't planned it far enough in advance in my own schedule so that I could 
have invited some of you to stop by the church, and if it was convenient for 
you, together we could have read it, and then shared some reflections. But 
your not being there, I continued to reflect upon it myself. And maybe, if 
you don't mind, I'd like to tell you a little bit about some of the things 
that occurred to me when I read that document as though I had not read it be- 
fore. 

And as I read it anew, I also paid attention to those who had signed the 
document. And then I reflected - - - John Hancock — your name stands out 
above all the others. Why so? 

Well, there are two reasons. One, he was the only one to sign the docu- 
ment the day it was approved, the order having been made that they should wait 
until it was engrossed on parchment, until all the other 55 would sign. So 
I suppose having the space all to himself, he went to town. 

But there's another reason for it. John Hancock, so we're told, signed 
as boldly as he did because, he said, I want the King of England to see my 
name even without having to reach for his glasses to read it! 



"Except the Lord Buil d " (2 ) 



That also caused me to reflect upon the other signatures. Some I could 
hardly decipher at all, they were written so small. And then I asked myself, 
were there those who signed reluctantly? What were the deep thoughts that 
went through their minds as they reached for their pens, or as they put the 
goose quill aside? I know very well from reading a bit of history that many 
of them signed with doubt and with fear, against the background of this docu- 
ment as we see it today, one must never forget there was doubt, and there was 
fear. 

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife and told her that he real- 
ized full well the terrible price they would have to pay for their indepen- 
dence. The writer on the Editorial Page of the NEW YORK TIMES for July 4, 
1975, spoke wisely and well when he said, "The signing of that Thomas Jeffer- 
son document was not to be considered a capstone to a victorious rebellion, 
for as they met together and deliberated, they were not always of the same 
mind! There was doubt. There was hesitation." They were not forgetting, 
you see, that Washington's forces were outnumbered four-to-one. And they 
also had to deal realistically with the fact that when it came to sign, that 
the New York delegation could not affix their signature. They had to wait 
until they got instructions from back home. And New York state wasn't sure 
where it stood at that time! And the signatures of the New York delegation 
were the last to be affixed, and that some time later after the others had 
signed. They had an agreement among themselves that no one would sign from 
any delegation unless there was a majority vote within the delegation. . . 
...Delaware was evenly divided, so when the vote was cast on 
July 3, Delaware was disqualified . . . 



" Except The Lord B uild -_-___" (3) 



....and should I tell you this — Pennsylvania, of all 

states, together with South Carolina, voted against it! 
Hear me and hear me well - - you may have a John Hancock who says, "When I 
sign I'll sign so that the King of England can read it without reaching 
for his glasses" - - you may have a Charles Carroll, who when he signed said, 

. . of Carrollton" ... so if the King of England were to search him out 
he'd know exactly where to find him . . . 

...but for some of the others I surmise there were deep thoughts, and 
maybe some who signed with hesitation when they remembered the doubts and 
the fears that lay hold upon them. 

Bruce Caton is absolutely right when he wrote, "The central reality in 
this great act that brought a nation to its birth was the living, aspiring, 
struggling people." It was a struggle, furthermore, that was fought out by 
the people who were very much like ourselves today, which is to say that they 
were very often confused — usually divided in sentiment, and now and then 
rather badly discouraged about the possible outcome of the tremendous task 
that they had undertaken. 

...remember it and remember it well — classified 
as one of the finest things ever to come from the 
mind of man — those who signed it must have signed 
it with deep and earnest thought, against a background 
of fear and doubt. 
But the document was signed! And a nation was born! And for 199 years the 
republic has survived. 

Why do I come to you with so great enthusiasm this day to this place which 
stands for a loyalty above kings, and emperors, and governors, and presidents? 



"Except The Lord Build " (4) 



Know this and know it very well, my friend, that every time I come to this 
place I recognize that my loyalty is above all else to Him who is King above 
all kings and Lord above all lords. I do not come this morning to this place 
as a partisan patriot, as one who is a national, with blinders upon his 
eyes as far as the other nations of the world are concerned. But I do come 
as one who recognizes that when this nation was born, it was given a spiri- 
tual foundation, and to this I rise to speak and to pay tribute. 

How did it happen? Well, let me tell you. 

There happened to be the time when the signatures were about to be af- 
fixed a day or so ahead of time — some lack of unity, not particularly pro- 
nounced discord, but some of you who have attended meetings will know what 
I mean when I say it just hadn't begun to mesh. Something seemed lacking. 
And then they looked to the elder statesman who happened to be present, a man 
in his 70' s, who up to this point hadn't said much of anything at all. And 
they asked Benjamin Franklin to speak. 

At first he refused to say anything. But finally he arose to his feet 

and spoke a few words based on Psalm 127, and it's the first verse of that 

Psalm which serves as the basis for today's sermon: 

"Except the Lord build the house, they 
labor in vain who bui ld it . . . " 

Now keep that in the recesses of your mind as you think of what's already 

been said and of what's yet to follow. 

so he rose to his feet and spoke a few words based on 

Psalm 127 and from that brief talk, I am happy to tell you, 

came the spiritual foundation of the United States of America and 

the Declaration of Independence 

Benjamin Franklin said, "I have lived a long time. The longer I live the 

more convincing proof I see of this truth that God governs the affairs of men, 



" Except The Lord Build " (5) 



and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His will, is it possible 
for an empire to rise without His notice? We have been assured of the sacred 
writing that except the Lord build a house, they labor in vain who build it. 
I firmly believe this. And I also believe that without His concurring aid 
we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of 
Babel." 

. . .now what do you suppose he suggested after he had spoken? He 
suggested that they pray. Which they did. And that's the way 
it was, July 4, seventeen hundred seventy-six. 
I come to this sacred desk to remind you that ours is a nation with a 
spiritual foundation. We refer to it, that document, as the Declaration of 
Independence. In the little while that we spend here, would you believe me 
when I say that we can refer to it also as the "Declaration of De pen dence. " 
You will find such phraseology as this in this document: 
"We, therefore, the representatives of the 
United States of America, in general congress 
assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the 
World for the rectitude of our intentions ..." 
...are you aware that that was put in the Declaration of Independence? How 
often do you remind yourself as a citizen of this republic that the founding 
fathers, before they went anywhere at all with their Declaration, wanted it 
to be understood that they recognized their obligation to have the righ tness 
of their United States approved by the Supreme Being. 

There's further cause for reflection when I remind you that as the docu- 
ment is concluded, it is concluded with these words: 

"... and for the support of this Declaration, 
with a fi rm reliance on the protection of Divine 
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our 



"Except The Lord Build " (6) 



lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor ..." 
They wouldn't lay anything of themselves on the line unless they had first 
said that they could be given the assurance of divine aid. Remind yourself, 
and remind yourself again and ever so often, that ours is a nation with a 
spiritual foundation, a nation under God. And if you were to ask me why 
it has survived for 199 years, I would have to say to you with all the strength 
that I could command: simply because of the way it was begun. 

Now there's further cause for reflection, my friend. I suppose I'll have 
to preface what I'm going to say to you by saying this, that of all the sins 
I hope my Lord will never find me guilty, one of them is the sin of cynicism. 
You remember that I made this admission to you. What I'm wondering - - if 
today we were called upon to draft a similar statement, would we just as earn- 
estly as they introduct the divine perspective, the eternal dimension? Would 
we today, as unashamedly as they, say, "Except the Lord build a house, they 
labor in vain tho build it . . " ? Would we, as they, say, we must rely upon 
divine protection? I have to say to you quite honestly that I cannot answer 
enthusiastically in the affirmative. I brand myself a brooding optimist. I 
cannot take the name of Christ and not be an optimist. But when I put my 
finger upon the pulsebeat of our nation again and ever so often, I have to 
look long and hard for something more than token respect for the Almighty. 

I cherish for our day who was it, the President of Harvard of Yale, 

who twenty years ago, so I am told, said that maybe the test of a truly edu- 
cated man is his capability to mention the name of God without hesitation and 
without embarrassment. 

I know not what the future has in store for us as a nation except- to say 
this to you, that what is true for a nation is the same as what's true for 
an individual. When a man forgets God, he's in for deep trouble. I hope 



"Except The Lord Build " (7) 



the day will never come when America will be so smart for its own good that 
she can fail to heed the admonition of an elder statesman, who could say 
calmly and with so great confidence: "I believe that God governs in the 
affairs of men." Now you think about that. 

We're not too far away from July 4, 1976. We've got a year to continue 
to think about it. Up in Wilmington, Delaware, by the way, they have a 
statue to Caesar Rodney. He was the chap from Delaware, you know, among 
others, who went to Philadelphia to help sign, when the time came that they 
could, the Declaration of Independence. My friend tells me as Caesar Rodney 
is asride his horse, they have him heading toward Philadelphia, so that at 
any time when anybody comes and looks at that statue, they'll remember that 
he was there. 

We do well to face toward Philadelphia between now and July 14, 1976 — 
to think of what happened in that State House. But to remember 
above all else that the people who were there, as we face Phila- 
delphia, were people who cast their faces Heavenward.... 
...something worth remembering, honestly .... 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Eighth Sunday After Pen tecost July 13, 1975 



"TO CHANGE A WORLD" 



#" 



WE HAVE SO little time, God, to 

do this sort of thing, to give / Q» 

some measure of undivided atten- « \ 

tion to the interpretation of Your ) 

Word. That we should make the most 

of our time together now, we ask the 

help of Your Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Let me tell you at once about a Irishman named Pat. You've heard many 
stories about him. Undoubtedly you've heard this one, too. It concerns 

Pat and his pig he was astounded that the pig's habits were as filthy 

as they were. And then he muses to himself, and said, "Small wonder! Look 
at his surroundings! I'll take him out of his pigsty, I'll improve his 
situation. " 

So according to the story — you remember it, don't you — Pat put his 
pig in a palace. You know what happened, don't you? It wasn't long until 
the palace became a pigsty. For Pat reminds us that a pig is a pig, is a 
pig, is a pig. Once a pig, always a pig. 

There are any number of people I know who don't forget that. And they 
transfer that to their concept of people. And if I've heard it said once 
I've heard it said many times — you can't change them, what they are, they 
are! 

I come to this sacred desk this morning to remind you that this is con- 
trary to a basic Christian truth. Let me read for you the text that triggers 
all of these thoughts in my mind, and hopefully you may listen to them with 
some degree of profit. The text, the 17th verse of the 5th chapter of that 
Second Letter that Paul wrote to some Christians who lived in Corinth. This 
is the way he put it: 



' To Cha nge A World" (2) 



" If any man be in Chr ist, he is a new cr eation. " 
One translation has it: 

1 ' If any man be in Chri st, he becomes a new creatu re. ' ' 
My favorite translation is that of J. B. Phillips, who puts it quite dynami- 
cally: 

' ' If any man be in Christ, he becomes a brand new pers o n altogether. ' ' 
...as much as to say, a change sets in — it's visible — it's pronounced — 
it's readily evidenced. 

Now sometimes when I preach a sermon I try to visualize myself sitting 
with a small group of people, and because we do sit down as a small group 
of people it's very easy to respond and to react. Some of us have been doing 
this now for a number of Wednesday nights in Bieber Hall. It's been a good 
experience. And if I were to find myself in that kind of a situation now, 
I can well imagine how some of you could very honestly say, "Even though you 
carry the name of Christian, I don't believe it!" 

again I'll say, if I've heard some of you say it, I've heard 

a hundred people beside you say it: "You can't change human 

nature - - what they are, they are." 
When I began my ministry, characterized by the youthful enthusiasm of a 
man fresh from seminary, and also convinced, as I hope I am still convinced, 
that any man anywhere can be changed, that no man is to be condemned as lost 
forever. And because I understood the Christian Gospel in this way, I was 
appalled by a colleague in the ministry who had had some years over me, who 
when I named a particular family that was on my prospective list, that was 
on his prospective list longer than he was on mine, he simply said to me, 
"You're wasting your time! They'll never change. In fact, I think I'll 



' 'To Change A World' ' ( 3 ) 



take them off my prospect list completely" I could hardly believe a minister 
of the Gospel saying that, because if I understand the Christian Gospel at 
all, there's always the possibility that a person can change. 

Frequently when you read Scripture, let me suggest to you that some of 
the passages are autobiographical — deliberately so. So much so that the 
person who speaks the words that we now read is saying to us, "And I'm put- 
ting my own life on the line - - you can believe what I am saying because 
take me primarily as an example ..." The Apostle Paul knew whereof he 
spoke. He was Exhibit A. There was a line that could be drawn in his life 
before Christ, and after Christ, and anyone who is a student of the Scriptures 
knows exactly the kind of person the Apostle Paul was before his life was 
changed dynamically by Jesus Christ. So Paul is saying to us, "Take my word 
for it. If any man be in Christ, he does become a new person." 

Examine the text carefully: "if any man ..." It implies, of course, 
that until Christ takes over a man's life, a man is denied a change, a trans- 
formation, that otherwise he might note — any man. It also implies that no 
man is so good but what this couldn't happen to him . . . and no man is so 
low nor lost but what there isn't hope. I can't tamper with that Scripture, 
my friend. That's exactly what it says. This is possible for an y man. 

Unfortunately for some of us, we have had a kind of relationship with 
them, we've had a rather unfortunate experience, and so in our impatience , 
or in our lack of faith in the power of God's grace, we mark them off, and 
rule out the possibility of any kind of change. Or, I'm sorry to have to 
tell you this, that there are some of us who know a measure of status when 
we can keep them beneath us, when we can imprison them and deny them the 
possibility of change, because what's going to happen to our measure of pride, 
you see, when they become as good as we? - - what's going to happen to us 



" To Change A World" (4) 



when they can talk about the same transforming quality that they now say 
has come to them? - - what advantage do we have over them? 

One of the dastardly things about life is the way we've locked some 
people in, the way we paint them into a corner, the way we freeze them into 
a mold . . . and say that's the way they are, that's the way they're going 
to remain. 

"If any man be in Christ," says Paul, "he 

becomes a brand new person altogether ..." 
....well, I'm going to surprise you a bit and respond to that, as though I 
were a member of the small group on the periphery, constrained to speak up 
to the man who is conducting the meeting. I'd say my response to that is 
Yes, and No. 

First No. And by that I mean he has to go back to the same w orl d. Just 
because a man becomes a Christian now doesn't mean that his problems are 
going to be any different. Just because a man becomes new in Christ doesn't 
mean that the neighborhood is going to change! He may still have that in- 
compatible foreman with whom he has to work at the shop.... he may still have 
that supervisor who irritates him he may still have to ride in the car- 
pool with that other person who gr ates — just the way that other person 
speaks! The situation may not change once a man's soul is possessed by Jesus 
Christ. The world in which he has to live and to move may be pretty much the 
same. In that sense, the answer is, there isn't much of a change. 

But as far as the individua l is concerned, and he is the one of whom we 
speak - - - enthusiastically Yes! - - - there is a change. The change is not 
made on the outside. The change is made because of what happens on the ins ide . 
The world may be the same, but he looks at it differently. 



" To Change A World " (5) 



You've heard me use the parallel frequently between religion and love. 
I never cease to marvel at what happens when a person falls in love (we have 
no other way of saying it, you see) - - what we're really saying is that when 
a person comes under the influence of another person who claims his heart, 
it happens . 

....he isn't here this morning, so I'm going to take 
advantage of it. But I remember it as though it were 
yesterday, when he fell in love with his Ellen. He was 
still in high school. I can see him walking up the drive- 
way at 9219 Manchester Road. ... there was a spring in his 
step that hadn't been there bef ore. ... there was a gleam in 
his eye that wasn't noticeable earlier. That lane at 9219 
Manchester Road was still the same lane as it had been for 
years, he had to come home to us who were the same people, 
and he had to go back to the same difficult assignments at 
Montgomery Blair. But something had happened to him. Some- 
thing new had been introduced into his life. And he's never 
been the same since. 
Anyone who's been by love possessed knows exactly whereof I speak. 

I surprise people sometimes when they come to see me about being married, 
and when I take seriously the responsibility that rests upon me in the inter- 
view session. But I introduce to them, I learn that in some cases they just 
hadn't thought of it before in that manner . . and this is what I say to 
them: You're recognizing, aren't you, that from this moment on, that once 
you're married, whatever you do is done by way of reference and relationship 
to this person now who claims your heart! No decision of any value could ever 
be made without acknowledging this identification and this relationship with 



"To Change A World" (6) 



this person — honestly! 

Now meanwhile, back to the text: "If any man be in Christ . . . 
Well, that's rather hard for some of you to understand. You're not mysti- 
cally-minded enough, honestly you aren't, I know you aren't. You're not the 
sons and daughters of the East that's characterized by mysticism. It's 
extremely difficult for you to think how you could be in Christ. 

Well let's turn the text around a bit, then. Instead of saying, "If 

any man be in Christ he becomes a new person" let me put it for you this 

way: "When Christ is in you, you become a new person." When the lover knows 
that he's being loved, when the heart is claimed by somebod y else :j _ the trans- 
formation sets in. And I say this to you with all the strength that I can 
command - - when Christ comes into a man's heart, when Christ begins to rule 
at the center, a change sets in! Because then from that point on you begin 
to think in His terms, you begin to look at life through His eyes. His values 
become your values, and His moral framework of reference to which He always 
relates Himself is the reference to which you relate yourself ethically. 
Honestly I believe this. 

I don't see how you can read the New Testament without being impressed how 
time and time again people's lives were changed. I am thinking of two as ex- 
cellent examples 

- - there was a woman, we call her a woman of the street, of easy 
virtue. When Christ became the center of her life, she was trans- 
formed. He couldn't bring back her innocence, but He did give her 
a new direction toward which to move. It happened so magnificently 
that even when the end came she was numbered among the most faith- 
ful. And to this very day they name hospitals and colleges after 
the Magdalene . . . 

- - then there was that little bit of a Jew — I delight in telling 



" To Change A World" ( 7 ) 

the story about Zacchaeus , who one day after an encounter with 
Jesus Christ said, "I know the kind of person that I have been, 
but now that I've met you it's going to be different!" . . and 
he ended up by saying, "If I've stolen from any man, I'm going 
to give him back four-fold — if I've gypped him twenty-five 
dollars, I'm going to see that he gets a hundred!" 
Now what I haven't told you so far is this, and you're going to find this 
just as difficult to believe, unless you're under the influence of the Spirit, 
as what I said earlier: this change can take place in the here and now. It 
isn't something that you have to wait for thirty years from now to happen. A 
man can become a new person in Christ then and there. When Mary Magdalene, 
the prostitute, became a new woman, it happened there and then! When Zacchaeus 
came down from his tree and went to his house and set a spread for the Master, 

he didn't say, three weeks from now the change is going to set in the 

change set in then and there. I believe this. I can bear testimony out of 
my own life. And if I were free to do it right now, I could name people who 
are now seated in the area where you may be seated who could rise up and 
say, "I know whereof you speak!" 

Now, my friends, I have to tell you this as earnestly as I can. Every 
now and then we forget this in the Christian church. We think that just be- 
cause people sign up as church members, that that's it. Just being a church 
member is no guarantee that a life is being changed by the influence of Jesus 
Christ. And yet at the same time I must also tell you that this is really 
what the Christian church is all about. The Christian church is the society 
of people whose lives are being changed by the power of the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ. This is what it's really all about. 



" To Change A World" (8) 

I hear people say that what we could do is to change the sys tem 

...well, I know sometimes systems have to be changed, but 

I don't get too excited about it . . 

I know there are people who tell me, if only we could extend education 

enlighten their minds, we'd improve the world of which we are part, 

and I believe that to a degree 

...but I don't put all my eggs in that basket . . 

I know there are people who tell me, if only we could change their 

environment, and take them out of the slum and the ghetto 

...and I'm not completely against that, don't misunderstand me. 

But I'm constrained to share with you what Edwin Markham, 

the poet, said: 

"Why build these cities glorious, 
if man unbuilded goes? 
In vain we build the work unless, 
the worker also grows . . " 

I am old-fashioned to believe, honestly I am, that you change a world by 

changed people. And a long, long time ago there was a Carpenter's Son who 

proved the point. But some of us have forgotten it. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost July 20, 1975 

"OUR AGONIZING GOD" 



(Remans 8:26-28) 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 



Tell me, when you think of God, just how do you think of Him? How near 
at hand is He? How vitally concerned is He in what you think, in what you 
do, in what you feel, and in the person that you've become? - - do you hon- 
estly believe that it makes any difference to Him at all? 

Gilbert K. Chesterton once observed that if a man went looking for a 
place to stay, he'd feel far more secure, he believed, if instead of looking 

the landlady in the eye and asking, "How do you brew your coffee? how do 

you prepare your bacon?" it would be far nearer the point if he would 

say, "Madam, tell me, what is your total view of the universe?" Because, you 
see, if one believes certain things about the hand that has created the world, 
or if one can go so far as to believe fervently in the fatherhood of God, you 
can tell something about that person's basic nature and character. So it's 
terribly important as to what you honestly believe about the nature and 
character of God, because that belief determines your nature and your charac- 
ter, and the way you think determines the way you behave. 

Tell me, then, what do you really believe about God? How interested is 
He in you? How mindful is He of your plight and your condition? 

Among some religious groups, when they think of God, they keep Him in 
the distance — He's far removed — they want a God who's perfect. They allow 
themselves to think that if He mingled too much with them, if He got too close 
to them, He'd be corrupted by the world. And they wouldn't want a God who 
smacked of imperfectability. How close is your God to you? How mindful is 
He of your plight? It's a good question. 



" Our Agonizing God " (2) 

Do you mind if I announce the title for today's sermon at this point? The 
title of today's sermon is "Our Agonizing God" and the text, from the 
Epistle for the day, from a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Chris- 
tians who lived in the imperial city of Rome. Basically the Epistle consti- 
tutes two verses, the 26th and the 27th verses — three in fact, the 28th as 
well, of that 8th chapter of Ramans. For our purpose, a portion of the 26th 
will suffice: 

" But the Spirit himself intercedes for 
us with sighs too deep for wo r ds . . " 

The old translation had it this way: 

" The Spirit himself makes intercession 
for us with groanings that cannot be 
uttered . . . " 

Now here are some of the thoughts that have been triggered by this text. 
But we'll have to back up a minute if you don't mind. 

I went to see him some months ago. It was the post-operative period in 
the hospital. Surgery had been performed. He had nothing to do now but rest 
and let nature provide its healing touch. He was a bit restless. He'd read 
a bit, then he'd quit reading. Then he'd turn on the radio, then he'd turn 
it off. Then he'd listen to television for a while and watch it. The upshot 
was that in my conversation with him, I learned that he'd become conversant 
with practically all the newcasters of the different channels. But then he 
lamented, "All I can say, Pastor, is that the news is not good." 

From my vantage-point, I suppose I could have replied to him, quite pro- 
perly so, "So what else is new?" because that's your reaction and my response 

as well, isn't it? No matter what you've been listening to lately, no matter 

what newspapers or periodicals you put aside... The news is not good. the 

whold creation groans, it's that troubled. Name any area of the world — 



" Our Agonizing God" (3) 

Korea Portugal. Argentina — .India Southeast Asia — the entire 

Middle East that moves from one crisis to another, if not day by day, then 
week by week. 

It troubled me when I heard him say it — I didn't expect a man of the 
cloth to make a statement like this, I was so enthusiastic as I began my 
ministry, but shortly after World War II, Dr. Paul Empie, "Mr . -Lutheran-of - 
the-World" at that time, and I were talking. And he made this observation: 
"I never again expect to see in my lifetime, the world smack of anything that's 
near normal. I anticipate a world of continued disruption." His prediction 
has come true. 

Now all of this leads me to ask you to go back and read sometime today, 
or before you go to bed tonight, the entire context in which today's Epistle 
lesson has been cast. For the Apostle Paul is talking about three different 
groaning situations. 

— He makes reference to the fact that the whole creation groans - - 
trouble, trouble, trouble anywhere, everywhere. The Apostle Paul was talking 
like that almost two thousand years ago. And one might be. able to say that 
the theme-song for humanity could be the old Negro lady's lament, "Nobody 
Knows The Trouble I've Seen." For it seems to be that the whole creation 

groans 

.... I know we sing a hymn , and there was a book entitled , "All 
Things Bright and Beautiful" - - which in some happy moment prompts us to 
reflect upon a world and say it's perfectly beautiful. But it isn't. It is 

a world that has such a thing as a tiger. . . .a snake. I'd be very happy 

if I could succeed in killing that anake that's startled me occasionally, with- 
in ten feet of our doorway in that little place in the country. Maybe it is 
harmless, and I believe it is. But nonetheless I haven't reached the point 
where I call it beautiful. Nor am I happy to be startled by it. 



" Our Agonizing God " (4) 

When I was in India I was impressed by the water buffalo. A man once 
observed it's the only animal in the world that's disease-resistant - - but 
he was wrong, as any veterinarian can tell you. There's no such thing as 
an animal that's invulnerable to disease. The whole creation runs the risk 
of groaning. 

Then the Apostle Paul went on to a second situation, and he said not 
only the whole creation, but we ourselves groan. All of us are in some way 
troubled people, and far from satisfied from the situation we create for 
ourselves. Look what we have done with the world. Some of my younger friends 
tell me that that's one reason why they say we turn them off, because they 
seem to have hoped for far more from us than what we are able to deliver. 
Maybe in somber moments we have to realistically appraise the situation and 
admit that we really haven't done as well as we might have done. 

I remember the student in college talking about that school of philo- 
sophy that believed that 'day by day in every way we're becoming better and 
better and better' . . . and all the while the theologians were shaking 
their heads and saying, it isn't true. We Lutherans, among perhaps a limi- 
ted number of Christians in the world, still believe in the depravity of 
human nature, that man left to himself and to his own devices creates a 
hell. And that's another reason why every time we Lutherans come back to 
worship we begin at the same point. We did it today and we did last Sunday: 
.... "We sinners confess unto You that we are by 
nature sinful and unclean." 

I can remember as a kid growing up, I got a prize for standing up on a 
platform and reciting the preamble to the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact. As a 
youngster I dreamed of a world of peace. But we had no peace, in my lifetime. 
I was exposed to World War I. Then came along World War II. Then Korea. 
Then Vietnam. And we're all living under the threat of a third world war. 



" Our Agonizing God" (5) 

A President of the United States has said that were there to be a nuclear 
explosion, 129 million people would die within ten minutes. We ourselves 
groan within us. We agonize. 

We invented the airplane - - what grand and noble schemes we had. And 
then the satanic influence prevailed, and we've used it as an instrument of 
death and destruction and devastation. We had hoped it would be used for this 
kind of thing, transporting the surgeon to the site of the patient so that a 
life might be saved. But now we transport swindlers, smugglers. There is 
nothing that we have not used satanically. 

So stained is man by original sin that we agonize because we know it is 
true - - - 

...the wireless, or the radio — to communicate truth, to 
spread the word quickly from one nation to another, 
from one part of a nation to another. The satanic 
influence has used it as a propoganda device to tell 

lies 

. . .no sooner did we have television but what we had high 
hopes it would bring culture within the reach of 
many people. And then what did we say: the monster 

in the living room 

....almost anything , let me say it again, if not anything, that we've ever 
had we have been able to use satanically. And we agonize because we know 
it is true. 

Now let me stop at this point and ask you a question that in all likeli- 
hood you haven't asked yourself for a long, long time, if ever at all: What 
do you dread most? What do you think could be the most awful thing that 
could ever happen to you? 

I've had my moments when I've entertained that question . . . 



" Our Agonizing God " (6) 

I dread crippling arthritis. I've seen what it's done to people 

I dread muscular dystrophy 

I dread inoperable, incurable cancer. I know what it did to my 

mother 

I dread the thought of blindness 

What do you think could be the most awful thing that could happen to you? 
Having prestige taken away from you? Having people lose respect for you? 
You're waiting for me to come around to it — I dread the thought of losing 
someone I love, on whom I depend. I've seen what other people have had to 
endure when the angel with the white wings has hovered over a family circle 
and removed someone. It would be an awful thing. It is, as you can testify. 

But I pass all of these by, would you believe me, as I now suggest to 
you that the most awful thing that could happen to me, as I see it, would be 
to have no one in whom to believe, and by that I mean not to be able to be- 
lieve in God. I wouldn't want to face another hour if I couldn't believe 
in the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God to whom the 
Apostle Paul refers to now in the third groaning situation in this context, 
in which he says: "The Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groan- 
ings that lie too deep for words." 

Come now, let me give you the thrust of this sermon immediately. We 
have a God who suffers with us. We have a God who cares for us. We have 
a God who is personally involved with us. We have a God who will not turn 
His back upon us and say, "Let them go to hell, they deserve it." Ours is 
the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world 
to suffer and die for us. What a tremendous concept that is, to know that 
God Himself agonizes when He thinks of us and our predicament. And herein 
lies our hope, for it would seem to me that any measure of improvement that 



"Our Agonizing God" (7) 



we've ever made we've made just because God would never allow us to remain 

in our misery because God says, "I take note of it and I am concerned, 

and let's together do something about it." 

Seme day I must preach to you a sermon on the other half to this text, 
in which it is put for us: "The Spirit himself makes intercession for us." 
You remember what we said on Ascension Day, what we said to ourselves of 
the truth that came to us anew, Where is Jesus Christ now? — He's sitting 
at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. 

Let me put it for you this way: when you and I agonize so much and the 
situation becomes so intolerable in this world of which we are a part, and 
we don't even know how to pray, the Apostle Paul says, "Even the Spirit 
begins to take over for us at that point and prays in our behalf, with 
words that are too deep even to be uttered." 

...that's a hopeful sign. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 
The Tenth Sunday After Pentec ost 



July 27, 1975 



"ACCORDING TO GOD'S PLAN" 



GOD, We make so little time to do 
this sort of thing, to give some 
measure of undivided attention to the 
interpretation of Your Word. Now that 
we're about to do it, give us the 
blessing of Your Holy Spirit, that we 
may make the most of it. Through 
Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who 
when He came, ca me preach ing. Amen. 




' 



1 



&' 



You didn't hear me say it, but I was saying it to myself, I should have 
done it, because that's precisely what I thought and what I felt. Because 
I looked at you when the Epistle lesson was being read. I saw hardly any 
sign of emotion at all. One of the truly great passages of Scripture, and 
one, I dare say, that has shaken a lot of people up, but I didn't see much 
sign of emotion on your faces. 

And what I said to myself was that I should have stood beside the Lesson 
Reader and said, "Now hold on a minute. I'd better give these people a bit 
of warning, because in all likelihood if they're going to listen with any 
degree of sensitivity, they could be shaking their heads and saying to them- 
selves, if not aloud, 'I don't believe it.'" 

Now this is what you missed if you weren't paying attention when the 
Epistle was being read, and you know I'm saying this not because I'm chastiz- 
ing you - - I'm saying it out of pure love. In the King James translation it 
read like this: 

' 'Fo r we know that all t hi ngs w ork together 
fo r good to them who love the L ord . " 

I've known people who when they've heard that have shaken their head and 

said, "I don't believe it - - anything that happens? — good comes out of it?" 



" According to God's Pla n" (2) 

If you were the kind of person that some people happen to be, and you 
had a pencil in your hand and you read Scripture, there would be certain 
verses that you'd underline — you'd believe them. Or you might even go 
so far, with the testimony of your own experience, to put a bold exclama- 
tion point which would be your Amen! — I know this to be true.... 
....if you're also the kind of people who when he 
reads Scripture with his pen in hand would put a big 
question-mark after this verse, because you're not 
so sure that you believe it, and even if you would 
want to believe it, you're not so sure that life 
proves it to be true — that all things work for 

good to those who love the Lord 

You know some people who love the Lord far better than you do, and you 
know the hell they've had to face, and the misery that has come to them. And 
now we ask you to believe that that can work for good. Well maybe it will be 
helpful if you'd read the translation that J. B. Phillips gives us regarding 
this text. It speaks to my soul, I much prefer it: 

"M oreover we kn ow that to t hos e who l ov e God . ■ " 

(you begin at that point) 

" . . to those who l ove God — you're cal led 
accor din g to his plan. " 

...this is very important, you see, that you get it in its proper context.... 

" 1 _. _ everyth ing that happens fits into a pat tern for good." 

Now you might be willing to give this more than a second glance when you read 

it according to J. B. Phillips. 

When you talk first about the goodness of God and the love of God, when 

you recognize the fact that God has a plan, then you might be willing to 

admit that everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. But maybe 

not. And I'm going to suggest to you now two things as we wrestle with this 



" According to Go d 's Plan" (3) 



text. 

The first one is that some people shy away from it because they can 
never get themselves to admit that there is a pattern that's going to pre- 
vail as far as their lives are concerned. Honestly now. Some folks' lives 
are a helter-skelter sort of thing. It isn't that they don't have noble 
intentions, it isn't that they don't dream fervently. It isn't that they 
lack ambition. But lo and behold, they take three steps in this direction, 
and within ten days they find themselves slipping backwards three yards! 
They plan something today, and they endeavor to accomplish it, but by the 
end of the week they're completely thrown for a loop - - the winds of life, 
the storms, assail them. And they're driven this way and that way. And 
they simply go on day by day just trying to keep their heads above water, 
and they just can't see that there's any pattern at all, or that there's 
any progress being made. This is why some people shy away from this text. 

Well let's be patient with one another. Maybe God alone knows the pat- 
tern. Maybe God alone knows how ultimately all of these things will fit 
together, as a jigsaw puzzle is composed, and we have limited vision. Maybe 
we have to accept that. 

But you see the problem is that some of us are so constituted that we're 
not about to take any step in any direction unless we know just where it's 
going to lead. We want the whole story now. And life doesn't always give us 
the whole story now. 

After spending three-and-a-half decades in the ministry I've come to one 
conclusion - - I'll never allow myself to say I've seen everything. Almost 
every time I walk into a so-called 'confessional booth' with one of you, I 
brace myself to say it could be something that I have never heard before. 
Life can be like that. And because it can throw so many different angles, 



"According to God 's Plan" (4) 



and because we have an innate desire to see how it's all going to work 
out right now, we're thrown off-guard, and we're crippled, and we can't think 
rationally, because some of us are so constituted that we like to see all of 
the pieces put together now failing to realize sometimes that the speci- 
fics themselves are not the essential things, and that the primary thing is 
the direction in which we're about to move. Not how much progress one may 
make tomorrow morning by 10:00 o'clock, but sufficient in the eye of God 
could be just the direction in which one tends to move. 

I satisfy myself on occasions when I can say to some of you, well if you 
can just be sure in your heart that you want to do the right thing, and if 
your heart is right, then I have reason to believe that in God's sight every- 
thing will come right. 

If it's helpful to you, out of my own book perhaps you'd like to look 
at this page . . . some years back I had a crisis. I was Pastor of another 
church. Let me fill in the detail if you don't mind..... 

....we had everything going for us. The past was secure 
and the future was bright. Honestly. And then that call from 
Frank Gunther — "Would you allow us to consider the possibility 

of your coming to Saint Luke, Silver Spring, Maryland?" I had 

never been here. I didn't know any of you. We had two sons to think 
about. We had our own families to think about. Well;, I needn't tire 

you with all these details. I was a small-town boy. To come to 

a metropolitan area, to adjust to suburban living? 

I sought the advice of the then-Secretary of the Church, Dr. F. Eppling 
Reinartz, who simply said, "You pray. You read the Scriptures for what 
enlightenment may come to you. You seek out only a few trusted friends. 



" Accordin g to God's Plan" (5) 

You don't scatter your shot, you don't expose your soul to everybody, but 
only a few whose judgment you respect, and you seek their counsel. Then 
you go off by yourself, and with what enlightenment you have, you decide. 
You act in faith and trust that the future will conf irm that your decision 
was right." 

Maybe that will be helpful to you, because you see, where God is con- 
cerned there's always the element of trust that needs to be exacted. 

"All thi ngs work together for good to t hose 
who love the Lord . . . " 

- - they do fit into a pattern, but you have to be willing to trust Him to 

put the pieces together that you're willing to place into His hands! 

Now there's another thing about this text that troubles people, I 
think — not that they can't simply see. the whole pattern at once, which 
is true. Very few can. I'd like to predict what the next chapter in my 
life is going to be, but I know that I can't do it! Sufficient for me to 
know the direction in which I ought to move. But the other thing about this 
text that bothers some people: the fact that there is such a thing as evil 
in the world. 

Now if nothing but good happened to us, who in the world, then, wouldn't 
be willing to believe that all things work together for good! But can you 
and I honestly believe that evil in God's hand, once laid upon by the hand of 
God, can be fashioned for good? That's what throws us, you see, because we 
do happen to live in a world where the devil is still in business, and where 
evil is constantly raising its ugly head. So then, when the unfortunate and 
the ugly and the untoward happens to us, can we believe that these things 
can work for good? 

Well, let me suggest this to you. The years have also taught me, and I 
hope I won't forget it, that it isn't so much what happens to us in life 



" According To God's Plan" (6) 

that's important as it is what we do with what happens to us. It's how we 
handle the circumstances. You know what - - let's go back to the very be- 
ginning. I believe that God created the world — "in the beginning God 
created the heavens and the earth . . " The very first thing that you and 
I say about God is that He's creative. 

Now you and I — take heart, my friend — you and I are made in the 
image of God. That means His likeness is stamped upon us, and we're meant 
to be creative, we're meant to be able to do something, to fashion something. 
I'm impressed sometimes how different people react to the same thing, which 

is simply to say, how they handle the same thing 

...some people become wealthy, and their wealth 

destroys them. They don't know how to handle it.... 
...some people become wealthy and it becomes their 

opportunity to do good, unmeasured good, over and 
above what they have been able to do with the 

little that they had 

...some people are confronted by criticism, and they're 
completely d emoralized ! 

— other people are stimulated 
by it, challenged, learn from it.... 
God intends us to be creative, to handle positively the untoward, the ugly, 
the unfortunate. This I most certainly believe. 

When will it ever dawn on us that the symbol of the Christian faith is 
a cross? - - an empty cross. God did something creative with that dastardly 
action of the human spirit. It is possible. Who would want to live in a 
world where good did not prevail? That's how God got His name. God means 
g ood -- eternal — everlasting — without an ending. 



"Accordi ng To God's Plan" (7) 



I covet for you, as I covet for myself, a new appreciation for this 
tremendous text: 

"Moreover we know t hat to those who love- 
God, who are called acc o rding to his pla n . . 

(and that means you, and that means me) 

" . . that everyt hing tha t happ ens can fit 
into a pattern for good." 

If you find it hard to believe on. the basis of your own experience, then 

believe it on the experience of other people who have found it to be true. 

After the 8:30 service this morning a woman walked up to me out on the 

church lawn as we shared the refreshment period together, and she said, 

"Your text was the favorite passage of my mother — a marvelous woman." 

The two go together. She could have told me her troubles. She could have 

told me the way her mother's character was developed. The reason? - - She 

believed in the hand of God to take all of the pieces and put them together. 

....I wouldn't want to live a single day if it 

weren't possible to believe that . . . 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 




Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Eleve n th Sund ay After Pentecost August 3, 1975 y 

" CASE STUDY IN HOW TO HAN DLE Q, > x 

A PROBLEM" 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 



When Harry Emerson Fosdick, bless bis soul, was the Pastor of Riverside 
Church in Manhattan, he coupled with his responsibilities there the position 
of being head of the Department of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary, 
close by. It was in its hey-day, and students who had the good fortune to 
sit at his feet still remember a bit of advice that he gave to them when 
they came to his preaching class. He gave them to understand, among other 
things, that their preaching would be most effective if they could always 
remember that before the preacher, no matter how many people there would be 
present, behind every face, within every heart, there would be a problem. . . . 
..."let your preaching, then, become that effective, 
that when you preach, you're able to meet the needs 
of people who have problems . . 
For the grace of God, you see, is sufficient to do that very thing. And 
happy indeed is that preacher who commits himself to the proclamation of 
the Good News of Jesus Christ, for all who hear him will be people who are 
problem- laden . 

We all have problems. That's the point at which this sermon begins, 
with the somber recognition of that truth. Every single one of you is. a 
person with a problem, or a series of problems. And if you should be naive 
enough to think that you don't have a problem, then the commend that's made 
in G. Bernard Shawe's "Dr. Cannock" (?) may be meant for you when the doctor 
says, "if you think you are well, it's because you do not know that you are 
sick." There are people who have problems, whether they realize it or not. 



"How To Handle A Problem" (2) 



) 



Some of us have lived to the point where we know that the older we be- 
come, we simply exchange one set of problems for another! That seems to be 
the nature and the character of the living of our years. There was a time, 
honestly now, when we allowed ourselves to believe that we could reach a 
point, a plateau-of-sorts, where we could coast and throw ourselves into 
neutral, that we might be free of problems. But that day is yet to come! 
It just isn't on the horizon. And for those of us who have lived a little 
bit longer than the rest of you, this is what we're able to say to you: 
life is a constant challenge, the exchange of one set of problems for 
another . 

Now I realize, of course, that there are problems that come to us, not 
of our own making. We have no control over them. We find ourselves in a 
situation, and this is what confronts us. We didn't design it. We didn't 
wish it. It has simply come to us. Life has a way of thrusting problems in 
front of us ... . 

....and on the other hand, I have to admit to you, sadly 
enough, that there are some problems that are created by people. 
They create their own problems. When I first came to the Maryland 
Synod I had an interview with the President of the Synod, now the 
man who is the President Emeritus, my highly esteemed and trusted 
friend, Dr. J. Frank Fife. Among other things he said to me, "Sure, 
we have problem congregations in our synod, and we have problem 
pastors. And some of those pastors are problems just because they 
create their own problems." 

Well now, having said all of this, I want to tell you that what I'm 
saying to you now in this sermon is inspired by today's Gospel lesson. Do 



"How To Hand le A Pro blem" (3) 



you remember it? Matthew is not the only one who recorded the incident. It 
seemed to be popular with most of the Gospel writers. John also has quite 
an account of it. It's the most popular of all the miracles. As any Sunday 
School pupil knows, name the list of miracles, and invariably included in 
the list will be the Feeding of The Five Thousand. 

I suppose if you had a sanctified imagination at this moment, you could 
picture yourself saying to Matthew or to John, "Tell me, what was it like 
when you were with Jesus? Take any given day ■ — give us an account of it." 

....and Matthew or John might say, "Well - - " (as they 

remembered this day) - - "It was almost like any other day, 
and yet we who were with Christ had come to understand that any day eventu- 
ally became absolutely glorious! He was the kind of person who had a way of 
making wonderful things happen sooner or later." 

Well, that was a great day. Five thousand men, Matthew says, came to 
hear Him preach. The women and the children they didn't even count. Matthew 
probably would have said to us — I think you can put it this way — "I never 
heard Him preach the way He preached that day. His voice was so strong and 
clear, and if the people who sat right in front of Him could hear Him clearly 
and distinctly, so I think if people who would have been seated in the opposite 
part of the valley, His voice would have been heard as clearly and as distinctly. 
He gave us those unforgettable pictures about God, how much God loves us. He 
told us how much God needs us.... He told us of the way we ought to live with 
one another. He just went on preaching and preaching and preaching, until now 
when I look back and think of it, it must have been for hours ..." 

" . . .It occurred to Him, or did it occur to one of us, I 

don't quite remember any more . . " 

(The accounts differ between Matthew and John) 

" . . It occurred to one of us, or to Him, that here were 



"How To Handle A Problem" (4) 



all these people, who, so it would seem, sat under Him 
spell-bound, and forgot to take time to eat. And now 
they had to get back home. . . 
And as the recorder said: 

' ' Many of them would faint by the way. ' ' 

I presume it could have been a day such as the days we're experiencing 
right now. I've experienced this kind of weather there, day after day. So 
with His concern for the people, that they ought to have nourishment, the 
question is raised, "Where are we going to get the bread to feed them?" 

Now having said all of this, recognize at once that this incident, the 
miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, is basically a case study in 
how to handle a problem. Maybe you never thought of it in that way before. 
But that's precisely what it is. And when you go back and remember what 
happened, you'll discover all over again certain techniques and procedures 
by which to handle a problem effectively. 

First, this is what you do. You recognize th at you have a. problem on 
your hands. And that's exactly what happened. Somebody called it by name. 
Unfortunately, I have to tell you this, there are some people who never be- 
gin at that point, and consequently they never learn how to begin to handle 
their problems. They never reach the point where they recognize they have 
a problem on their hands! 

This is one of the toughest things that comes to us in dealing with 
people, to get them to admit that a problem exists, or maybe that they're 
either part of the problem or the problem itself. To the everlasting credit 
of those involved in this incident — hurriedly, quickly, t hey called the 

problem by name. They recognized it. Now that's the point at which 
you begin. 

Then the second step is: you look around, you try to make a kind of 



"How To Handle A Problem" (5) 



inventory. You not only assess the situation but you assess your 
resources: Do you now have anything at hand by which you could 
begin? Anyt hing. - - that's the key word - - or Something. Not 
how much, but is there anything that can serve as a kind of a handle? 
Lo and behold, they looked around, and somebody observed, "Why, here's a 
youngster and he has his lunch with him" - - wonderful! Not much, but 
you begin to assess the scene for available resourc es. That's the second 
step. 

Now unfortunately I have to tell you this, that there are some people 
who will go that far, but as soon as they go that far they begin to think 

negatively which is exactly what happened on that occasion. Somebody 

with a chorus of voices began to say: "What's that boy's lunch among so 
many?" 

Let me give vent to my feelings for the moment, indulge me quickly, 
will you? I get so sick and tired sometimes when I sit down with a group 
of people, and then I have to sweat it out when I hear all t he reas ons why 
a thing can't work. It happens to be a habit with some people! They seem 
to be in duty bound to think negatively. I know it's part of my temperament 
to believe that a thing can work, and I become terribly impatient sometimes 
when I have to sweat it out with people who can tell me all the reasons 
why a thing can't get off the ground. 

Now that doesn't mean that we ought not to think realistically, and 
that doesn't mean that we ought not to put a high value upon the practical 
side of things. But think what would have happened in the case of the inci- 
dent that serves as the Gospel lesson for the day if that would have been 
only the point that would have been reached, where somebody would have said, 
"Here's a boy's lunch!" - - and everybody else would have said, "It doesn't 



' ' How To Handle A Problem ' ' ( 6 ) 

amount to anything — you can't do anything with it." 

Well the third step in handling a problem successfully and effectively 
is, you turn over your limited resources to a greater hand than yours. The 
miracle began to happen as soon as they took the little and gave it into the 
hand of Jesus Christ. God never made any of us big enough to handle all 
the problems of life by himself. When will we ever come to understand that 
we are dependent creatures? We were not meant to operate independently of 
God. God waits for us to turn to Him. God always has a plan, and God's 
wisdom is always greater. 

I reminded our youngsters from Tent Troupe who were present here this 
morning, I thought when I saw them perform so very well "Lilies of The Field" 
....how a sequel to that is a story that's being portrayed actually by some 
of our Lutheran sisters who came from Germany, and how they came to the 
United States and how they've gone to Palestine because they have been guilt- 
stricken by what the Nazis did to the Jews, and they're trying to re-pay the 
debt. And they've established little settlements that practice and live out 
daily Christian compassion. Well the Mother Superior of that outfit has writ- 
ten a number of books, the title for one of them is this: "God Is Always 
Greater." And when you and I have problems confronting us, we need to re- 
member that God's wisdom is always greater than ours. God's strength is al- 
ways greater than ours. 

In the solving of a problem, these are the points, then, that we do well 
to remember: 

- - call the problem by name 

- - learn to b egin w ith what you have at hand, no matter 

now seemingly insignificant and honestly now, I'm 

convinced that there's always enough by which to begin — 
not very much, perhaps, not enough perhaps to give you 



"How To Handle A Problem" (7) 



giantlike strides at once, but a little 

- - and the third step is to tru st completely the hand of 

God to deal with the matter. 
Now there's one other word that I need to share with you, even as I 
need to share it with myself: the heart of this whole miracle lies in the 
thrust of compassion. God is love. That's why we define Him. And love 
always thinks in the terms of the needs of other people. 

Do you know that there are some problems that we never get resolved 
because we never get beyond thinking of ourselves. We're always zeroing 
in on ourselves and on ourselves alone. So frequently in our inter-personal 
relationships, we'll never get our problems resolved as long as we keep 
thinking in terms only of ourselves. And as soon as that little boy got 
himself off dead-center, took his lunch and begin in thinking in terms 
of other people - - the miracle began to happen. And the problem was re- 
solved. 

You've never tried this strategy before? 
The technique's a bit strange to you? 

....let's try it — today — tomorrow at the latest. 
Let's not put it off. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



\ 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost August 17, 1975 



" ACCEPTING YOURSELF " 
or 
"The You You Happen To Be " (Matthew 15:21-28) 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God our 
Father and from His Son Jesus Christ, 
our Blessed Lord. Amen. 



I want to think with you for a little while about today's Gospel lesson. 
Now let me at the very beginning take you into my confidence. If today I 
were seated in the congregation, and I heard the preacher go to the sacred 
desk and say that he wanted to think with you about the Gospel lesson, I'd 
move toward the edge of my seat . . . because I'd be saying to myself, this 
is what I have been waiting for - - I want to see how he handles this passage 
of Scripture. 

Quite honestly, I've shied away from it. In the more than thirty-five 
years that God has given me the privilege to go to the sacred desk, I think 
I've preached only two or three times upon this Gospel lesson for the day. 
I'm reasonably certain that I've never done it justice, and you may think 
it's a bit vain of me now to come to this sacred desk and attempt it again. 

Let me tell you why I feel this way. It isn't an easy passage of 
Scripture to understand, especially if you read it superficially, and most 
of us do. Frankly now, when we deal with Scripture a lot of us just give 
it a casual look, the edge is blunt a bit because of familiarity, and then 
it doesn't make an impact. But in this case, no matter how casually we 
read it, we're jolted a bit because we're given an exposure of Jesus Christ 
that just doesn't quite fit the regular album. Be patient with me now and 
I'll recite this incident. 



" Accepting Yourself " (2) 

It was near the end of the ministry of our Blessed Lord. I think He 
knew very well what was in front of Him. He recognized that last week in 
Jerusalem, and the terrible, terrible price He would have to pay. Maybe He 
wanted a respite, and so He got about as far north in Palestine as I think 
He ever went. Do you suppose He went there just to get away from people? 
It could have been so. 

but at any rate, as He was about to leave that section 

of the country, a woman ran after Him — if you please, a 
heathen woman, not of the Jewish faith. And as she ran 
after Him she screamed, as anyone who has been in the 
Middle East knows how an emotional woman can behave, she 
made quite a scene. ..... .and would you believe it, this 

compassionate, concerned Jesus Christ seemingly ignores 
her. 
You would have thought, if you wanted a regular portrait of Him, that He 
would have said, "What can I do for you, kind one? - - you're so distressed, 
you're so distraught. I've come to help people. I have a blessing for you. 
Why have you waited so long?" . . . presumably He might have said, "I have 
been in your territory for a week, now I'm about to leave." 

He didn't talk like this at all. In fact, He gave her the 

silent treatment! And that's what causes some of us to get a bit up- tight 
when we read this passage of Scripture, because we just can't picture Jesus 
Christ giving anyone the silent treatment. 

Some of us have gotten it from people. It's a terrible experience, to 
want to be recognized, to want to be spoken to, to want our presence to be 
felt, and then to be ignored. To be ignored by God! To be ignored by Jesus 
Christ! Now can you understand why I'd be seated on the edge of the pew, 
waiting to see how a preacher is going to handle a passage of Scripture such 



"Accepting Yourself " (3) 

as this - - ! - - where at the very beginning we're told about a Christ who 
did not respond with compassion to a woman who came pleading for help. 

Not only that, but as the incident continues, it's the disciples who 
get into the act, and the disciples who, for whatever may have been their 
motivation, say, "Give her some kind of attention! Send her away! Can't 
you hear how she's crying?" . . . whether their motivation was noble or base, 
the fact remains they would have paid some attention to her, while He Himself 
seemingly remains insensitive. 

Then a dialogue does begin. When she cries out for help, He says some- 
thing to this effect: "It isn't right to take bread and to give it to dogs" 

He also said something about He wasn't sent except to the lost sheep of 

the house of Israel. And there you get two blows at once: a discriminating 
Christ - - "I have blessings for some people but I don't have blessings for 
you" - - - it just doesn't fit in your picture of Christ, does it now? Or 
this humiliati ng Christ - - "It isn't right to take bread and to cast it to 
dogs. " 

well, the upshot is, she's the persistent one. Granted she 

gets this kind of treatment, she just doesn't take No for an answer. 

When I was a lad I used to be impressed by the say stories would begin. 
I was fascinated by "Once upon a time ..." And then I became fascinated 
by the way stories ended - - " . . and they all lived happily ever after." 
And I found myself eventually remembering how stories ended rather than by 
the way they began. And that, I suggest to you, is what you and I need to 
do with this incident. Troubled superficially as we may be with the way it 
begins and continues, we need to be impressed by the way it ends. For the 
story ends in this manner in this incident, where Jesus Christ says to her 
something that He didn't even say to the twelve disciples, I think ... He 
said to her, "You have great faith, woman, and you can get what you've asked 



"Accepting Yourself" (4) 



for." And the miracle is performed. 

Now let's back up a bit. Let me indicate to you the courage that I 
have in dealing with this passage of Scripture this morning. 

To begin with, I want to tell you this, that I think you and I have 
to remember that Jesus Christ was never anything less than a gentleman, and 
despite His silence, He's never less than God. And even though He doesn't 
jump when we snap our fingers, that doesn't mean that He's less than compas- 
sionate. He is concerned. And His interest is always in us . What He does 
for us, He does because of what it may do for us. You have to remember that. 

Now I think it's also helpful to remember that when He said something 
about "It's not fit to take bread and cast it to dogs" — that if you had 
the benefit of the original translation, you've discovered it wasn't nearly 
as harsh on her ears as it is in ours. It was just kind of a statement that 
happened to have been made which indicated: "Wait now — are you sure you 
deserve what you're asking for? How can you prove to me that you ought to 
have this blessing?" . . . which leads me to say to you very quickly that all 
people have some measure of faith, and this basically is an incident that 
deals with faith. You can't have miracles without faith, don't ever forget 
that! Miracles just don't happen. The basic ingredient of faith is always 
essential . 

Some people have faith, a little faith, and Jesus Christ was constantly 
taking the disciples to task because He said, "0 ye of little faith." Any 
number of people I know wish that their faith could be increased. Right now 
in this congregation — she's not present at this service, so I can speak in 
this manner, and you wouldn't recognize her anyway — there's a woman in this 
congregation with whom I have had three counseling sessions within the last 
month. And each time the burden of concern is always this: "Pastor, I don't 



" Accepting Yourself " (4) 

for." And the miracle is performed. 

Now let's back up a bit. Let me indicate to you the courage that I 
have in dealing with this passage of Scripture this morning. 

To begin with, I want to tell you this, that I think you and I have 
to remember that Jesus Christ was never anything less than a gentleman, and 
despite His silence, He's never less than God. And even though He doesn't 
jump when we snap our fingers, that doesn't mean that He's less than compas- 
sionate. He is concerned. And His interest is always in us . What He does 
for us, He does because of what it may do for us. You have to remember that. 

Now I think it's also helpful to remember that when He said something 
about "It's not fit to take bread and cast it to dogs" — that if you had 
the benefit of the original translation, you've discovered it wasn't nearly 
as harsh on her ears as it is in ours. It was just kind of a statement that 
happened to have been made which indicated: "Wait now — are you sure you 
deserve what you're asking for? How can you prove to me that you ought to 
have this blessing?" . . . which leads me to say to you very quickly that all 
people have some measure of faith, and this basically is an incident that 
deals with faith. You can't have miracles without faith, don't ever forget 
that I Miracles just don't happen. The basic ingredient of faith is always 
essential . 

Some people have faith, a little faith, and Jesus Christ was constantly 
taking the disciples to task because He said, "0 ye of little faith." Any 
number of people I know wish that their faith could be increased. Right now 
in this congregation — she's not present at this service, so I can speak in 
this manner, and you wouldn't recognize her anyway — there's a woman in this 
congregation with whom I have had three counseling sessions within the last 
month. And each time the burden of concern is always this: "Pastor, I don't 



" Accepting Yourself " (5) 

have as much faith as I ought to have. I want to have more faith." And this 
basically is her problem. And one of the things she needs to recognize is 
that you don't get faith just by wishing for it. 

Much to our amazement, faith is born out of struggle. If Jesus Christ 
treated her the way He did, He treated her because He wanted to give her the 
proving-ground by which her faith would be supremely tested, give her the 
chance so that ultimately He could say to her, "What's going to happen now 
is because your faith is that great. " 

Helmut Thielicke, bless his soul, the great German preacher, perhaps 
touching more people in the name of Jesus Christ than anyone of his genera- 
tion, has dealt with this very same subject. And he recites the account of 
a woman who came to him and said, "I have faith - - I go to an opera, I go 
to a concert, I'm deeply moved, I come back, and I think how wonderful God 
is. And I believe in Him. But then the next day the storms of life assail 
me, the rains descend, and I find it difficult to believe." It's easy to 
believe when everything is wonderful. But the integrity of faith is revealed 
when one goes on believing when the night is dark and the night is long. 

. . .so Jesus Christ puts her to the test, to see how much faith she 
reaj'ly had. 

And would you believe me if I were to tell you that it all began when 
she reached the point of accepting herself for what she was in the sight of 
Jesus Christ? No man ever gets God to pay attention to him because he storms 
the gates of Heaven and demands attention on his own right. There are any 
number of us who are denied a blessing because we strut into the presence of 
God. One of the most difficult things for most of us is to accept ourselves 
as we are, and especially in the sight of God. 



" Accepting Yourself " (6) 

Most of us have a very good impression of ourselves. Most of us think 
that we don't deserve the blows that come to us. Most of us think that when 
we get a crippling blow, that it should have been diverted, and that if God 
is any kind of a good God, He wouldn't have allowed it to happen to us. 

I know whereof I speak. I have a colleague in the ministry who today 
is a stalwart, a giant of the faith. When God took from him his first love, 
when God took from him his help-meet, when God took frcm him the mother of 
his two children, he tells me now he went out into the dark of night and he 
even shook his fist into the face of Heaven and said, "God, you can't do 
this to me!" - - not that God had done it to him. But even if you take 
the other side of the coin and translate it this way: "God, why did you allow 
this to happen to me?" 

Pastor David very wisely selected his staff for camp. He knows how im- 
portant it is that the sheer strength of the personality of the teacher car- 
ries its full weight in the classroom. And as precious as any staff member 
that he'll have there this week is a woman who used to be a member of this 
parish but who since moved away, who has as many fine qualities in her soul 
as any woman I know. Once in a retreat session at Bethany I probed and I 
asked her how she got that way. Then she revealed certain chapters in her 
life when she struggled with God, when she wrestled with God, when God put 
her to the test, just to see how seriously she really was taking Him and 
His apparent silence. 

My friend, I come to this sacred desk to tell you that while there may 
be certain things about this passage of Scripture that you can't understand, 
I implore you, try to bring seme measure of understanding to this aspect of 
it: that a miracle was performed - - - that Jesus Christ did say to this 
women ultimately, "Your faith is great" . . . but it happened only after she 
began to accept herself as being unworthy ... as being unworthy. 



" Accepting Yourself " (7) 

It's one of the hardest lessons for us to learn. We're a proud, 
sophisticated people. In my devotions this morning, long before some of 
you were up, I read this magnificent liturgy of our Church as though I had 
not read it before. And I reflected upon the thought and said: If I were 
to be part of a group of Christians to write the liturgy today, would we 
be as honest as that, as they were when this liturgy was written years ago? 
Would we begin as they began, by saying, 

"We poor sinners . . confess unto Thee that we are 

by nature sinful and unclean" . . ? 
To the everlasting credit of another generation, they called a spade a 
spade, and they recognized sin for what it was, and their own unworthiness . 
No wonder sometimes we look back and say, there were giants in those days. 

"0 woman, be it unto thee, for thy faith is great" 
. . .but it began by recognizing her unworthiness. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

"CASE STJPY ON HOW TO WIS T 
FRIKKPS A3D IHFLURHCE PEOPLE" 
(John 1:43-51) 

GBACE, Mercy and Peace from G©d 
®mv Father and from llie Son 
Jesus Christ » our Blessed Lord. 

, Anon* 

My eye fell upon the article on one of the inside pages of the Hes? York 
Times yesterday. It bears the title: "THE RING TELLS ALL' . This If the 
first paragraph . , . 

"It's black, it's amber, it's bright 
blue, it's violet. It's this month's 
threuw&y chic, a $45 whimsay that has 
had hundreds of conspicuous consumers 
atormia? the jewelry counter at Bonwit 
Teller. 

The mood stone ring, for that is its 
name, is billed as a 'portable biofeed- 
back aid' that supposedly monitors levels 
of tension, relaxation and emotions in 
the wearer. It changes color, theoreti- 
cally, as one's mood changes . . " 

Interesting, isn't it? If you're not sure whether you're uptight or not, you 

simply glance down at the ring on your finger and you'll know how your mood 

is registering there. If you're beginning to relax, and hopefully that's 

true, the ring will tell you. 

I'm wondering what would have happened if the man who's remembered today 
in the calendar of the Saints wculd hav* had the benefit of such a ring. I 
Want to talk to you a littla bit about him. You cats call him cither Nathaaael 
ex you can call him Bartholomew. He's known by either of those names. 

H® is numbered as one of the Twelve. Perhaps it's been quite a while 
since you've recited for yourself the names of the twelve disciples, and maybe 
when you did start to number them, you couldn't quite remember him. 



. • ., .... U •-- ,: (2) 



Thar® isn't too mush that's known about hla. He's no t retoenharal as 
a miracle-worker... ...he's not remembered as a preaefter of great sermons..., 

....he's not remembered as an organizer of the churchea. Ho is remembered 

as soma people o«ght to fee remembered, not only for the answer that they 
give but for the quest lone that they ask. 

You see, he's the one who was told by Philip that "We just met Jesus 
Christ, the man from Nazareth" - - and this man Tlltoiml immediately coun- 
ters by asking cynically, "Can any good thing coma out o£ Nasarath?" 

.....now that stone in the ring on his fiagar, 

you see, would be indicating doubt and cynicism 

It changes. Something very wonderful happened. For in reality this 
Gospel lesson for teday — you can read it for yourself in that first chap- 
ter of John — is a case stuiy in how to win frieads and influence. Jesus 
Christ was a master at that. You're not forgetting, are you, that He began 
everything that we now enjoy today, simply by making a tremendous investment 
in certain people, winning their confidence, drawing out tha best that was 
within them, and giving them courage to believe that they **era the kind of 
thing upon which the Church of Jesus Christ could be founded. 

Let's look at this chapter again, that portion which serves as the 
Gospel for today. Episode One: Philip says to N&thanael (or Bartholomew) 
"We've found hisa, and he's from Nazareth t'' 

...Mood #1: Cynicism and doubt "Can any good 

thing coma out of Nazareth?" 

Now how does Jesus Christ respond to this kind of a reaction on the 
part of a man? Jesus Christ says to him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in 



■'■: - -i ; . :.-/ : ; .- : 



whoa there U a* gMilel" em ye* iioagitt*} sesrathAng like tfcetl Usually tffcen 
you and I diaccver that msotmmij doess't think ewy well of «a. ewe defeases 
b*gi» Co HOOtttu Wa feacasw irritated and anweyed, eecawm wee* of no have a 
pratty good &$rewe£e« o£ ourselves. Aafl it tmAlea BO a bit l» fee e*ert- 
elumgod c,r abort-circuited inwadiotely by nmmm wfce iiaam*t eve* talked 
with as, and takes a ratb.«r dim view of who we are and what we are. But you 
never win a friend by countering in like manner. Jesus Christ saya to thia 
man who says, "Can any good thing come out of Nasareth?" - - "Behold, an 
Israelite in whom there la no sulla!" It's the master-stroke. He says 

something good about Mm. 

In our interpersonal relationships how vastly different they could be 
if you and I were always looking for the good that lies within someone, and 

call it by name. 

1 consider myself very fortunate whan Pastor David asked ne to serve 
on the staff of the weak at Nawakwa that was concluded yesterday. I consider 
myself fortunate for several reasons. First, it gave me an opportunity to 
?:;>■■■ fe ;: .v.-.-. .h vot s^> v*7 :',: .; -:;.'-;jw.:. ' *■■ '-'••' •>■■'':? ■ ' ' -' ■ --5 
to discover how again and again throughout the coarse of tha week that excep- 
tionally fine staff was always appealing to the better side of each one of 
these youngsters. You see, the staff did go up there laat Saturday. Toe 
campers didn't arrive until Sunday afternoon. That time between Saturday 
afternoon and Sunday afternoon was spent in proper orientation in which the 
dynamic was being established in each of the staff members for the responsi- 
bility that rests upon him to look for the best, and to build t«pen it. 

I would be lees than honest with you, of course I would be, if I didn't: 
tell you that I had my moments during the weak when I discovered some young- 
sters at less than their best. They had their moments when the other side 



: » [ a .'T': - '■ '"" ::":'-"_" ''■) 



of their mature had tha ascendency. We're Ilka that too, and we're *ery 
honest about It, aren't we? I told you last wek when ws earn together, 
the high regard that I have for this Munificent liturgy of the Lutheran 
Church, because when we come together ftt the very beginning each Lord's Bay, 
we admit that we* re less than we ought to be. Ve're honest enough to brand 
ourselves sinners. Dut we happen to have a Cod who whan He looks as us, 
just doesn't settle for the fact that we're rl— rs. We're sinners who can 
be redeemed. To the day we die, even though we remain sinners, we're in the 
process of being saved. And I'd like to believe, no matter how you may sea 
it, that every time we come together in this place we're appealing to the 
better side of each one of us. 

It's no easy glib phrase whan we say we put oa our Sunday-best. 1 once 
heard it said that & lawyer sees people at their worst, a physician sees 
people just as they are — you can't keep anything from a physician, when he 
begins to probe and diagnose — and a pastor ordinarily sees people at their 
best. And this is not bad! For according to the Christian tradition, Cod is 
always appealing to our batter side. God is always telling us that we're not 
meant to go to hall. God is always telling us that we're meant to become 
Heaven-bound. And so He begins with Nathanael, or Bartholomew if you please, 
and He says something good about hist. And I suppose then if Nathanael were 
wearing that stone or that ring, he'd look at it and see how it began to 
brighten up, for this does something to a man, to have someone believe in 
him, and to begin at that point. 

And then Nathanael, in this conversation that becomes part of the Gospel 
for the day: "How do you know me?" And this is exceedingly interesting - - 
then Jesus brings to his attention, Ha said, "I saw you sitting under the fig 
trees." Now what in heaven's name, you say to yourself, doss that mean? What 



did we understand by that? 

Well, «!S.h** { ar.f atp^s " cfe : » -?:>; ^' ; , ; W: Ik ;::!scas days? vhm -£ ss&is m.t 
i".. :;b-, --',.r a?*, •% . ■:%• v .■..'..■ • .'j-u&I 

things • ■ « or hti ju«s sat there because he was indolent, lasy, wasted to 
withdraw, to get away from people, to goof off. 

It* a important to notice the construction that Jesus Christ puts upon 
■0.t:\: '&q. idi-mu '-: : ,i:::i :t.---. fes'-u ;■;:? vi > . . r >;-, ;'-'•■:■■ /■ . . ■;>•-:■:•,*- 

vi.U''.'o. K-p.ji, S'fesfc -v.-a ?■•■'?.;• Vy/l'V- ^ «*■•"■* ; •- = -'•■■■■ ; ■'■ ' v '-'' : -i ' !'■> " ? isg 

■:■. ' ' ' '■.■' \ :<:':<. S '■: '•,■:>>■ .ira'fc-- !!>■'<? -. ..:,,. >;v. ;.:■■" , .""«s ;::,vo;, ; ;: : •■.:.;—;. 

upon the thing that we're doing.,.,- 

. . . ,now look st that ring on his finger , had he been 
wearing it — think how the color would change now, 
as confidence is being built up and courage is being 
re-establish c<w that you've finally found 
someona who is willing to believe something good about you! 
And the ultimately Nathanael (or Baiftholomew if you please) ways to 
Him, "Thee art the Son of God - - Thou art the King of Israel*" - - the 
sacBtaafc-ef-iaaswifflts eventually arrived, asd we're given the opportunity to sea 
■".'::•:'.'. ife.,yir.:U m a-5 'a:-- - -■ v.\:j,yA - ■- ::■ Z : •:'-::.■;;; ■• ■ sr. ;::.\n-p : 

• »• .now what does the ring register* had he been 
wearing one? What now would the stone tell us? 
....well In the calendar ©f the Church we rssMsA k this aay toda*', by the 

'■' "■■■■'<:■ ulfe J®;?-;;, ' Z-iah.v;\~ 

la Tsy study here et the church, just around the comer here, I hsve 

Scripture, if you please, that serves as the dynamic for tay ministry arsons 
you. Xt'a the way the first chapter of Paul's Letter to the f'siosslaas ends: 



-~- '•'■•■ ' Li FrlmsS. '«;;-, "' (5> 



"So, naturally » we proclaim Christ! We 
wars everyone w® meet, and we teadi every- 
oa® was can, ail that we know about hira, so 
that, we may bring ©vary sum up to bis full 
maturity in Christ. This is what I am 
working and struggling at, with all the 
strength that God puts into ma." 



I hop® that affcar all these years you've discovered the intent of my 
soul, by the graea of God, to look for that better side of your nature, to 
build upon It, to believe in it, And if there is &z*y reservoir of good 
will among this congregation, it lies in the fact that that's the way we 
look upon on® another, even as we honestly believe that God is always look- 
ijig for our better side, and building upon it. 

It's a happy thought, I dare say, in all of our interpersonal relation- 
ships, for no mm is ever so bad that he should be marked off any man's list. 
Everyone's entitled to the belief that the good that lies within hira can be 
brought out, and developed. Soma of you have come as far as you have just 
because people think that of you . ■ . pass it ©■&, isy friend.. ...pass it en. 



;v ' 



0Ms sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Samoa - Factor Raymond Shaheen 

Flf math Sunday After Pentecost August 31 f 1975 

"COOP MEH CAM GIVE MP ADVICE" 

le-* 3 

GRASS, Mercy and Psac® f rem God j^ ^ / L 

our Father and from His Son Jesus hM^^ 

Chris ty our Biassed lord* Amaa._ '' 

Wnuld you bellav® it. the first young woman to capture the heart of the 
founding father of the Rockefeller fortune, old John J>. himself, turned him 
down - - that ia, upon the advise of her mother. When her mother found that 
she was interested in him, presumably she took her aside and she said, "You'd 
better lose interest in that man, because hi® future doesn't seem very bright," 
...as aspiring young artist applied for a position with & Kansas 
City newspaper. The editor examined the artist's drawings, 
shook his head: "Young mas, you don't have any talent. Let 
me advise you to get into something else where you might have 
a chance to suce«d • . • n Halt Disney, the creator of Mickey 
Mouse and goodness knows what else, did not take the editor's 
advice « > . . » 
...his name was Chauncey DePew. A limited number of you might recog- 
nise the name, he was at one time a leading railroad executive. 
A relative of hi© had come to him for advice. Xt was possible 
to buy some Ford Motor Company stock. Chauncey DePew advised 
against it, saying that "Nothing has come along that can beat 
the horse . . . " 
, . . the editor of the Chicago Times in 1835 advised against any kind 
of significant consideration to what now has been referred to 
as &br&b>3ffi Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address. Having advised 
his collogues, he justified that counsel with these words: 
"The cheek of every American must tingle with shame when he reads 



"Rood Ilea Can Cjva Bad Advice" (2) 

the silly* flat and dish-watery utterances of a man who has to 
be pointed out to foreigners as the President of the United 
States ..." 
. ..ona aftarnoon a school teacher decided to go visiting into the 

homes of her seven-year-old pupils. Sha was the kind ©f woman 
who felt constrained to advise people. This is what happened 
in one home in particular: "I don't like to tell you this, Mrs. 
Edison, but 1 sincerely believe that your sen Tom tm mentally 
retarded - - I don't expect too ouch from him ..." 
. . . the ftrlght brothers sad their flying machine . . . they had an 

older brother, a preacher, a bishop no less, who said, "Flying 
is reserved for angels. To think of anything else is blasphemy . . ' 
»»they were all good men who gave advice, but the advice that they gave was 
bad. 

Sow that'® the title for today's sermon: "Whan Good Men Give Bad Advice." 
It'© triggered fey a thought or two of a particular text in today's Gospel les- 
sor. It's from the 16th chapter of Matthew. It all has to deal with a bit 
of advice that a good friend of Jesus decided to give the Master. Th© text 
is the kind of rsply that Jesus gave to a s*ood man who was about to advise 
him rather poorly — strong words, if you please: "Cat thee behind me, Satan.'* 

Now honestly, ens might admit that most of us are so constituted that 
we don't take advice very willingly. Sometimes we wish that we had. The 
judgment of other people is superior to ours. But on the other hand — do 
rameraber this — there is another side to it. Thar® are those of us who 
have sought out other people to get their advice and counsel because we believe 
them 6o be good men. But when they gave us their advice it tunned out to be 
bad. It can happen. 



"Good Men Gaa Give Bad Advice" (3) 



Now this sermon ia meant to be quite relevant, hcneatly, because moat 
of ua are either giving advice „ or getting it. We have friends like that. 
And we want to be that kind of a friend to them. Some folks at the drop of 
a hat, without any encouragement at all, will tell you precisely what they 
think ©f what to do... • ..and more often than we care to admit, they do in- 
fluence ua, for good, or for ill. 

Now when it comes to religious matters, we do well to take a study, 
aa quickly as w© can this morning, in the life of our Blessed Lord. For 
there were times when H® turned down advice, ®v@a though it came from good 
people. I'm impressed by the fact that when 1 read the Bible, one of the 
writers decided to put it this way, that when Jesus chose the twelve disciples, 
Re cfc*»se them that they might be with Him. Human as He was, He did enjoy so 
much their friendship and their companionship. And you know we look upon 
ourselves as feeing well-blessed when we ea® be surrounded by people, and a 
select number at that, if you pleas®, those who become pert of the Iraer 
::<y -.■■:■:;.■. 

Well Jesus had His inner circle, and aa they moved around from place to 
place in Galilee and Judea 8 I can picture thera as they would sit down and 
just talk — stimulating — encouraging — it gave Him a chance to put His 
finger upon their spiritual pislsebe&t, «ven as H® took the spiritual pulse- 
beat of others as He took their reading. And then with I think at least one 
of Shea reached the level of his relationship with Jesus Christ when he felt 
perfectly at ease to advise Jesus Christ, to give Him counsel. And that's 
about the upshot of today's Gespsl lesson. Had you listened carefully while 
the Gospel was being read — and of course you did? — you may remembar now 
that in that Gospel lesson Jesus is talking about going up to Jerusalem, 
predicting the kind of &ad that's going t& come to Him — He's going to die — 
it's going to coma off like that! 



'jt»OU ££JMi '■'■-U »xv<» i«Ht jyav^ma 



He's also indicating something about if anybody wants to eerae after Htm, 
he'd better thiak ia terms of sacrifice, bearing a cross. 

...now if you'll allow me to do it, with some degree of 
speculation by way of a sanctified imagination, I thiak that 
it's at this point whan Peter either blurt a out in front of 
the other disciples, or he sidles up to Jesus and he says, 
"Do you mind if we talk a little bit when the others go 

away — confidentially. ...... «wsll, no natter which 

way it happened, I'm inclined to think it went like 
this: "Master, you really didn't mean what you said, 
did you? - - You'd better think it over. You're 
telling us, you see, that we've signed up with a 
loser! — that's the impression people are going 
to get .... and, Master, things have been going 

along quite well, and if you start changing your tone 
now, and start talking about sacrifice, and cross-bearing, 
you're going to turn, some of these people off! 
"...you know what, Jesus, if I ware you I'd get these people back 
together and tell them that you've had second thoughts on this, 
that maybe you were just in a dark mood when you spoke this way 
...or perhaps tell them if they did get this impression, you didn't 

intend to give it why don't you do it, Jesus, before it's 

too late ... 
Well, whether he talked like that or not, I don't know, but I do know that what- 
ever he said made enough of an impact on Jesus Christ that Jesus said to Peter, 
"You're talking like the devil — gea behind mel Cat away from me! - - don't 
giir© me any more lip like this! " Really now! Peter was a good man. 



Re was giving bad advice. Ha was saying it simply from the human perspective, 
and ruled out completely the God-factor. 

What happened a couple of times in the life of Jesus Christ when good men 
save bad advica? As an example, there was the time when things were going 
along handsomely — really they were! — in fact so well that people came end 
said, "He's our man! — we'll make him king." And Immediately they responded, 
encouragingly so, "Great idea! Why di/ln'S we «&&& of it? 

....and like as not, if one began to picture himself 

with his portfolio — Minister of Defense. . . . .Minister of 

Finance. ... .Minister in Charge of the Provinces....... 

.....now the time had come, propitiously so, when the whole 

order would be changed! This man is made of radical stuff! 
— give him a chance — come on, Jesus, now's your time - - !" 
Undoubtedly that's the way some of them came and spoke to Him, when they 
recogaiaed the climate of the day. Th® time was right to make Him Sing. 
....good men - - but in the eyes of Jesus Christ it was bad advica, because 

Jesus Christ knew full well that simply changing a social order is never enough, 
Not that the social order may not need changing, but whet in heaven's name 
would It d© any good to change an order if you simply put the same old bad 
let of sinners in charge" You change the man, then hopefully the change 
is reflected in the order itself. Good men . . . bad advice. 

Then I'm inclined to think also, that other incident when a good man 
came to Him under cover of darkness. He had his reasons, I don't fault him 
for that. His name was Hieodemus — tremendously in earnest... impressed by 
Jesus Christ. And I think ah© two of them got along swimmingly until Jesus 
Christ started talking about regeneration, conversion, being bora again. 
And I'd like to think that Hicodemus said, "Hall. Jesus, if you don't mind, 
I'd like to give you a bit of advice you'll gat to first base, second base, 



"Good Men Can Give Bad Advice" (6) 



— you' 11 even make a home run if you keep talking about how sic® it is to be 
Rood to one another — do you remember how people responded whan you preached 
that great sermon on the mount? — you had them standing and waiting and wait- 
ing, weight®* ©very word, and jubilantly so — thaft's the kind of thing you 

want to talk about — peace of mind, and how to get along with people 

"....and I'm telling you, Jesus, If you stsxt talking to them 
the way you're talking to m®, about being bora again, this 
conversion bit, tS&ey*se not going to listen to youl They're 
not going to try and understand it. You're going to get them 
in over their depth. It isn't worth it!" 
Jesus Christ refused the advice. Because He had come to change men's hearts. 
He had come to establish clearly the fact that the Kingdom of God is within 
a man, that men need to be bom again, that they need this direct link between 
God and themselves — when God takes over, and they find themselves the obedi- 
ent servants . 

I know whereof X speak. Most of you — well, let me say it — most of u®, 
if somebody came up and looked us straight in the eye and said, "Brother, yon 
know what troubles you? — you don't have Jesus Christ In your heart. You 
haven't been born again." - - we'd gat rid of that fallow as soon as we could. 
....but if somebody came up to oe and said, "You have trouble getting 
along w;f.th people? You don't have peace of mind? Here's my 
pamphlet: *Eow To Gat Along With People' — 'Kcw To Make fifty 

Thousand in Five Years' - - read it!" we'd listen to that fallow. 

Well, let me go back. Most of us are either giving advice or getting it. 
It is terribly important. One of the books that I cherish through the yaars 
is Leslie Weatherhead's "The Transforming Friendship." Weatherhead establishes 
the fact very well that God's preferred instrument is through people. Sometimes 
some of us go to cereaia people because we want them to advise us, to give us 



'Swc .Hoja Can Give Ba d Advice" (7) 



counsel. As Christians I say to you with all the strength that 1 can command, 
whan you find yourself In a position to ha askad for advice and counsel, be 
sura you doa't aall God short. Always see that you introduce the God-factor, 
to look at a situation from God's point of view. 

If you don't mind ray tailing you this, I'm invariably awed by th® fact 
that son® of you coma to ma for counsel. And if a pastor is worth his salt, 
you shouldn't hesitate to go to him for counsel and advice. But speaking quite 
honestly, evary now and then I discover that soma people come to me because 
they simply want me to reinforce what they're already thinking and what they've 
already cotanittad themselves to, and always it may not be salutary. Yeu might 
be surprised how often some people come to the preacher, hoping that ha might 
side with them in the course that they'va decided to take that lacks a fair 
measure of integrity, that h® might be able to rationalize with them.... 

....but time and again, people may not realise it, that when I'm 
talking with them, figuratively I'm on my knees, asking God to 
giva me the strength to introduce and reintroduce the God-factor, 
so that whatever advice and counsel I may give may be from God* a 
point of view..... 
Some of us, to the day w© die, will thank God for those to whom we went, 
good men, who gave us good advice. But X warn you by way of caution, it's 
also possible for good men to give bad advice. And God will hold us responsible 
for the kind of advice we give. Bid you ever think about that? 

ft * * 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheea 

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 28. I '-Hi 

"BEYOilD IMPULSE" 
(Hatthew 21:28-32) 

GRACE, Ilercy and Peaca from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord* Amen. 

Leslie D. Weatherhead was for a number of years the distinguished 
Pastor of City Temple Church in London, England. He tra\>elad extensively here 
in the States and ha was a prolific writer. In one of his books he has a very 
interesting illustration, keen student of human nature that he was. He tells 
about a chap who has been in some kind of business in a village in England, 
and then he decided to go to the big city, and he'd establish himself in Lon- 
don. 

He was a stranger there, and he knew that it was very important that 
he should establish his business in the right area of London. So, once he got 
to London, and as he came up from the underground, or the subway, he acted on 
impulse, and he said to himself, 1*11 establish my business in that area when 
I see before me a white horse going in that direction. . . . 

....now I've never 
learned to this day whether it was a profitable thing for him to follow such 
advice, but this I can say to you, I don't recommend it. 

Which leads me to ask Che question immediately before anything else 

is said in this sermon: do impulses determine our character? or does a man's 

character determine his impulses? 

Questions sometimes are determined by the kind of answers we're able 

to give. Some questions can be given a direct Yes or No answer. Some questions 

deserve a Maybe-Yas and a Maybe-No. Maybe that's one of those questions — Are 

we what we are because of our impulses? . . or are our impulses what they are 



"Beyond Impulse" (2) 



How I have been away Iron this pulpit for three weeks, and naturally 
when I am away X think of you, the people for whoa God has given me a parti- 
cular kind of responsibility. A pastor can never divorce his thinking from 
his people, and as I return to this sacred desk I said to myself, perhaps the 
first sermon that I could preach would be a sermon that deals with impulse* 
Because when you divide people into categories, maybe we divide them into 
those two categories: people who act upon impulse. ....and people who don' t 
act upon impulse - - - people who are impulsive/folks who are a bit restrained. 
But maybe upon reflection at the very moment, we may have to say to ourselves, 
that all of us, in one way or another* do act upon Impulse, either the impulse 
to act or the impalse not to act. 

How having said all of that, let me tell you that I'm delighted to 
say this, that tho Gospel lesson for the day speaks to this very problem. I 
don't know how we: J. you listened to it. On© ought always keep himself attuned 
to what is being read. And incidentally, that's one reason why we Lutherans 
stand when the Goepel is being read, because related to the teachings or the 
words of our Blessed Lord, or an incident in His life, we want to give it more- 
than-ordinary attention. 

Now had that been your frami. of mind when the Gospel was read today, 
this now is what y >u heard: a story tlvat Jesus Christ told. He delighted in 
telling stories. He was never particularly interested in teaching abstract 
truths. Of course He was committed to basic principles and values, but when- 
ever He wanted to talk about basic pr: aciples and values, He always clothed 
them in terms of human personality - - He'd always bring upon the scene some- 
where people. Then He'd deliver His i truth as He spoke about them. And like 
as not, He'd get their attention, as Hb got their attention on this occasion, 



"Beyond ImpuW <3) 



by Baying, "What do you think?" 

It's a master-stroke, of course. Happy indeed is that person who 
gets his people involved from the very beginning* Ha pays them a compliment. 
He's interested in the way they respond. He's interested in the way they may 
think. So Jesus began on this occasion by saying, "How what do you think?" 
...and then He continued to hold their attention as He gripped them by saying, 

"A certain man had two sons ..." 

Weil, that triggers all kinds of thoughts in your minds at once, 
because usually as soon as you say two — you seldom think of two-of-a-kind. 
You usually think in terms of contrast and comparison. And again and ever 
so often Jesus would do that esactly, in this manner — "two sons" — than as 
it's being developed, we deal in terms of contrast and comparison. Even so 



"A certain man had two sons ..." ...alright, Jesus says, one of 
them was told to go into the f?eld and do some work. Ha immediately said No. 
The other son was told the same thing, and he immediately said Yes. I'm sug- 
gesting to you that th«y acted on impulse. In all likelihood I can say this 
to you because the chap who said Nq, later on, upon reflection, changed his 
mind. 

Now let this be said quickly: the chap who said Yes may have been the 
kind of fellow whose temperamaa t was such that he never wanted to get into an 
argument with anyone. He wanted to ease himself out of the situation as 

quickly as he could. He wanted no hassle he wanted everything to be gracious. 

And maybe his temperament was such that he was always inclined to respond in the 
way that he thought people wanted him to respond - - as far as the future was 
concerned , he e d deal with that maybe later on. But for the immediate moment 
his temperament was such that h£ s d get out of the thing as quickly as he could, 



'Ik yon d lagulae" (4) 



28 aaajly as he could . So Che fallow who was asked to go into the field and 
work impulsively said, "Yes, of course I will" because he knew that was the 
answer that was expected. There are people like that. 

You know people like that. Some tines you're inclined to curse peo- 
ple who are like that, because ultimately they cause some of us a great deal 
of grief. This whole business of trying to see what answer they think we want 
to hear • . . 

. . . whei I was a student studying for the ministry 1 was given 
good advice that I tried to remember — I don't always remember it — 
but, be careful with whom you associate, because you may find people 
in whose presence you ought to not linger overmuch because out of 
kindness to you, or sheer politeness, they may always agree with you. 
Now for what it may be worth to you, and I'm not so sure that it can 
always stand on all fours 9 a wit once observed that when two people agree, may- 
be only one is doing the thinking. 

Mow let's look at the other fellow. He was asked to go to the field 
and do the same thing. And his immediate answer was a shocker — "No, I won't 
go." How 1 have to tell you very quickly that that was a shocker because this 
story takes place in tie day when young men were taught to respect their elders. 
Xa fact s there was an aid Jewish proverb which said "You never say no to the 
nan with the beard" . . . . and in those days the beard was always the sign of 
veneration and age and maturity, and you respected it. How as Jesus tells the 
story Us tells about a chap who was asked to do something, and was bold enough 
to say Ho - disrespectfully so. 

He, too, may have acted on impulse. Maybe that was his temperament. 
i'laybe he saw that no good would come from his goiag iato the field. Maybe he 
was incliaed to think that h© could spend his time more profitably elsewhere,, 



/.. . . :,% ■ . - l,,f :'■ .'.- 



Or maybe he was Che kind of a fellow whose temperament was such that he felt 
In duty bound always to say Ho when something was feeing advanced - - there 
are people like that. And you and I sit down at committee meetings with 
people like that* who can't possibly sea the good of the thing that's being 
advanced, and impulsively (you can count on them, you can sense It) that's 
the immediate reaction. 

Let's go back to the original question: do our characters determine 
our impulses? - - do our impulses determine our characters? I'm inclined to 
think sometimes that impulses are primarily a matter of temperament. But at 
the same time, according to the teaching of this lesson... Jesus sis© said: 

"Afterwards - - ,s 
which means, upon reflection . The chap who said Ho tLmged his mind and came 
back and delivered the goods I The fellow who said Yes never did produce. The 
moral $ of course, is this; beyond impulse is reflection, the absolute neces- 
sity to reflect .upon our opinions, our impressions, and even the decisions 

that we've already made. 

tfith all the strength that I can command, let rae suggest this to you, 
that you and I be very careful as we go through life lest we pass judgment upon 
those to whom we never give the chance to change their minds upon reflection. 
I wound up this vacation period of mine on a preaching mission down in the 
Shenandoah Valley, and twice during the past week I sat with ministers in one 
symposium after another. And I had the good fortune to think with them about 
about this wonderful calling whiela Is ours in the Gospel ministry. And one of 
the things we said to each other is this: that we ought never to run out of 
patience as we deal with people, because there is always the possibility that 
a person who is negative towards Christ of changing his mind, whatever may be 
his motivations his initial impulse or decision. 



: 9EUS22i2£- < 6 * ! 



I have bees wrestling ia the recesses of ray mind on a little essay 

that I*d Ilk© to writ®, that I have been aefced to prepare, oa TLME. What is 
time - - axeept God's precious gift to us, in order that we might reflect ~ 
think through — what we said or thought or did yesterday, ia order that 
today we might profit by way of reflection. Impulse may he a matter of tem- 
perament* but acting upon impulse is nont certainly a basis matter of charac- 
ter* Wow you think about that for a little while. 



(This seronoB transcribed as recorded) 



Samoa - Pastor Raymond Shoheen 
The Festival of Praise October 19. 1975 



"STAY ALEaXl" 



GRACE, Mercy and peace from God 
oust Fatter and from His Son, 
Jesus Christ, our Blessed Lord. 
Amen. 



When your Parsonage family first come to you, almost twenty years ago, 
we discovered that the folks hack home were somewhat fascinated by the re- 
ports that we would share with them. Uncle Karl, Aunt Elisabeth, and Gross- 
ffiudder in particular, were impressed that their kinfolk were now living within 
a half -hour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.... or I dare say they were also im- 
pressed when we could tell them that within s half-hour we could walk on this 
casspus or that campus of any one of four or five of the leading universities 
of the country, not far from where we livedo 

But I suppose Ifeele Karl sat on the edge of hia seat when I told him 
that, in those days, it would he possible for us, when we turn the ignition 
key in the car at 9219 Manchester Road, and got through the traffic light at 
Four Corners, we could drive all the way to Sew York City without having to 
stop at the traffic light, that the only place we might have to stop would be 
at a toll booth on the iSew Jersey Turnpike. 

Which leads ae to say to you, my mind goes back quickly now to those 
trips that we went, either on church business to Hew York City or when we 
went up to get Jon established in Pratt Institute in Brooklyn... and occasion- 
ally as we would travel, we became aware of the fact that turnpike traveling 
could become very monotonous. We much preferred, of course, the by-ways of 
the highways, that took you hither and yon through this hamlet and that vil- 
lage — always exceedingly interesting things to see, so it seemed to us. 



•Stay Alert" (2) 



But on the turnpike, one whiasea along, whiles away the hours in almost mono- 
tonous fashion. Small, wonder, then, that the authorities on the New Jersey 



Turnpike would officially erect the flashing light that said KEEP AWAKE - - 



STAY ALER T. Under the spell of monotony one might find himself suddenly ap- 
plying the brakes and coming to a screeching halt - — because you see, 
there was a pile-up of traffic ahead of one, or to say nothing of the hazard- 
ous conditions that might confront you at certain times of the year on the 



highway. So the Turnpike Commission says: KEEP AWAKE - - STAY ALERT there 

could be danger ahead. 

But as I come to the sacred desk this morning, I am happy to tell you 
that I am more interested, not in staying awake and keeping alert that I might 
avert danger, but for the moment at least I would stay alert and keep awake 
because life is like a highway itself, and life itself is a journey, and as 
you and I travel through life there are good and grand things to be seen. 
And unless we keep ourselves alert, unless we stay awake, we could miss them. 

So it occurred to me when Winifred and I were traveling back from Canada 
this week — (we had been up there for a preaching mission in Ontario, a most 
delightful experience) . . . now whether it was in New York State or in Penn- 
sylvania, I can't tell you, but I do remerat-ar that as we were traveling along 
I did see this sign, and a free translation might be: "OOPS - YOU HISSED IT — 
YOU'RE ALREADY BY IT". Someone had paid perfectly good money to erect that 
sign. You've seen signs like it — "You're by it — you passed it already." 
Evidently according to their thinking, there was something that we should 
have seen, and we ourselves would be the poorer in life because we didn't keep 
ourselves alert, to, I presume, what might have bean previous warning signs, 
calling it to our attention. 

The tragic thing about life is that so many people might spend it and 



- 



"Stay Alert!" (3) 

come to the and of their years and having missed so much. Would you believe 
it if I were to tell you chat there's an old rabbinic saying that says some- 
thing about "In the tiae of Judgment God will hold us responsible for every 
joy. that we denied ourselves, for er«ry good thing that we might have known." 
Now there's a text for this brief meditation, but before I read the text 
I'm constrained to tell you that on this day when we feature a hymn-feat, we 
need to remind ourselves that the man who sings — heartily — is ordinarily 
the man who has seen something, who has experienced something that has caused 
him to sing. 

On occasion when I am depressed It is a salutary thing for me to remem- 
ber where my soul lias been uplifted in days gone by. It's a salutary thing 
to travel along memory's lane and to go back to certain places where you did 
experience something good and wonderful. Every now and then I sit and I 
think when we went to Salsbury in England, and there was the tallest spire 
in all England gracing that cathedral.... and down below at the base a blanket 
of green.... 

-..I remember when we went to the Cathedral in Wells, where 
when you walk on the inside at certain hours of the day, 
how the aun forms the traceries that bow the head in grati- 
tude and lift the soul in rejoicing. It's a salutary thing 
to look back and remember the days when a song began to emerge 
in your heart..... 
But if these things are to happen, one has to be made sensitive to the nearness 
of such beauty, one must be kept alert, one must stay awake. 

Well, here's the text. It's recorded in the Gospel according to Luke, 
the 9th chapter no less, the 32nd verse: 

"But Peter and his companions had been overcome by 
sleep, and i t was, as they strur,r,led into wakeful- 
ness, that we saw the glory of Jesus." 



"Stay Alert!" (4) 



The reference, of course, is to the Transfiguration. Jesus and His precious 
companions had gone to a certain place. But the disciples were weary, but 
something was about to occur the like of which had not occurred before, and 
something that would leave an indelible mark upon the fabric of their hearts. 
Asul only as the y struggled into wakefulness — only as they forced themselves 
to stay awake, to be made alert, would they see Jesus in all His glory. 

I have my moments when X become as despondent as you become despondent, 
when I think of all that's sordid and wicked in this world. But then I also 
have my moments when I realize that it's the best of all possible worlds — a 

world upon which God has not turned His back! a world in which God still 

remains sovereign. And that's something worth singing about. 

So I have a prayer that I offer to God each day. Wittingly or unwit- 
tingly it remains the same, "Dear God, make me sensitive. Keep me awake, 
keep me alert, to all the beauty, to the glory and the grandeur which remains." 
And because He answers that prayer and I respond to His goodness, occasionally 
I find something of the good and the grand in unexpected places, and at unex- 
pected times. 

Indulge me for a moment, will you, it's a personal reference. I held him 
in my arms, one time, and I remember to this very moment the glow in his eye 
when I think he was discovering for the first time a soaring jet in the sky. 
His brother at age four — I found him one time, and I was fortunate enough 
to capture it on a color transparency.*.. he was standing in a tomato patch, 
he had pushed back the green leaves, and that little hand of his was bringing 
to my attention the first blush of red on a tomato. And there was excitement 
in his eye. 

He who is made sensitive can see these things. For shame upon me, how 
on occasion I have been caught up with their restlessness, their foibles, 



"Stay Alert!" (5) 

their stupidity, and I have failed to see the beauty in their innocence. He 
who would walk through life and travel the highway must again and ever so 
often ask God to keep him sensitive to the beauty and the good that's just 

around the corner and that leads me to say something to you about your 

coming here every Sunday morning. Don't let it ever become eoramonplacel I 
say to Winifred's kinfolk practically every time that we go back to the hills 
of home, "I pray to God you never get used to this, but that each morning 
when you greet the day you thank God for the grandeur of the hills, the fresh- 
ness of the air!" 

Now, soma of you come back here every Sunday. I hope it never becomes 
commonplace for you. I hope every time you come you're caught up with what 
we're about, to receive the claim of God upon our souls, to know that each 
Lord's day ia this church He comas again and again - - to tell us a number of 
tremendous truths, and not the least among them is that He loves us, and for- 
gives us, and that He needs us. Stay awake! — keep alert! These things are 
happening. 

I like the way the fellow put it when he said: 

"Earth's crammed with heaven, 
And every consnon bush afire with God, 
But only the man who sees takes off his 

sheas and worships 

The rest sit around and eat blackberries." 

As God gives me breath, I hope I'll remain sensitive to the fact that there is 

always some good thing lurking around the corner.... and meant to be enjoyed! 

Because as we enjoy, so wa sing. 

And that leads me to tell you that that's the way it is with God. See 
Him as He is! Someone who loves us, someone who gave His Son to be our Saviour. 
And because this is true we have someone to sing about! 

Now I want to close in perhaps an unusual way I hope you won't mind. 

I'm going to read for you a prayer, a prayer offered by a Catholic priest, no 



"Stay Alert I" (6) 

less, up in Belmont, llassachusetts a few years ago when he was asked to 

attend a banquet In a public place. And I suppose those who were present 

braced themselves for a very solemn prayer uttered in funereal tones . But, 

bless his soul, he was sensitive to the fact that it was a good thing that 

was happening, people were gathering together — they were going to enjoy 

fellowship. He wanted to make sura that they were sensitive to this, that 

they would make the most of it. So this is the way he prays: 

"Almighty God, our Father and friend, we know 
that Your memory of earthly banquet halls is 
pretty grim, ever since that first Christmas 
Eve when an insolent fellow in a greasy apron 
at the only hotel in town slammed the door 

right in your mother's pleading face well 

the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind 
exceedingly fine. And here we are today, 20 
centuries later, on a continent that the inn- 
keeper never knew existed, speaking in a 
language that he never heard . . . and our 
very first thought before we sit down to our 
banquet tables is to stand in reverence and 
to salute Your undying name, 

We're especially happy to make this prayer. 
And, Lord, we hope that You hear it. Because 
this time we're not in church, and this time 
we're not in trouble. As a rule, when we speak 
to You, we're either kneeling, against the back- 
ground of a stained glass window - or buckling 

on a life preserver it's either the routine 

of religion, or the rush call for help. But 
today it is gloriously different. Today we want 
you to bless our joy as we stand poised for a 
few hours of genial festivity. 

Bless us, than, Lord, and in Thy goodness grant 
that the food may be well favored, the service 
smooth, and if it isn't asking too much - - the 
speeches short!" 

...so he prayed, caught up with a measure of ecstasy for something good that 

was about to happen. 



- 



"Stay AI.erti" (7) 



Well r you and I are here today caught up In ectaey because o£ something 
good that did happen, and continues to happen, because God sent His Son into 
the world to claim us. Before we finish our hynn~sing«, we'll include this 



©ae, your favorite 



Lord s my God, 

When I in awesome wonder 
Consider all the worlds 
Thy hands have made - 

1 see the stars, 

I hear the rolling thunder 
Thy power throughout 

The universe displayed. 



....and then so spontaneously: 



Then sings say soul 

My Saviour, God, to Thee: 

How great Thou art! 

How grea*: Thou art I 

Then sings my soul 

My Saviour God to The®: 

How grea'.:. Thou art I 

How grear, Thou art! 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



- 



Sermon - Pastor Xaymond Shebeen 

Reformation Sunday October 26. 1975 

"PROVE IT" 



GRACE, Itercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Sou Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 

On this day throughout all of Christendom the lengthened shadow of 
the Monk of yittenbarg is cast. I think I feel it significantly so as we 
gather together her©. I'll even go a step farther than that, my friend, 
and I think I can visualise the presence of Martin Luther himself, seated 
somewhere, perhaps alongside of you. 

And would you believe it, up to this point as we've gone from one 
experience to another, there's a broad, happy, wholesome German grin on his 
face. I think he smiled particularly when he heard that the vary first hymn 
that we would sing would be the hymn that he himself had written, inspired 
as it was from his study of Psalm 46.... 

.•..and then surely I sew him smile again when .he saw 
that we came back to it again during the anthem period. . . 
. » .while the lessons were being read X could see him nod 

in no small way the truth of the Gospel as he proclaimed it 
so earnestly, that a nan is saved by faith and by faith alone.... 
,» .sad that's why I think he would almost have stood up and 
bowed when the banner w@at by, because the banner especially 
designed for this day bears those words from Scripture that 
motivated him to the very day that h© breathed his last and 
that caused his lengthened shadow to be cast upon all of 

■■''•' "- ' ~— : ' cm " - ■ }vlJ : M-':''' ■■■'■■' ";.;' ..:•■** 



"PROVE IT (2) 

....and than as ha looks at tha bulletin, blass his soul, 
ha* 3 plaasad to discover that before tha service ia ended 
we will be singing another hymn that he wrote . . . 
But from his vantage-point in Heaven he can sense what's cooing next, and he's 
going to be a bit uncomfortable. For he has prior knowledge, you see, what 
you don't have, because of his vantage-point in Heaven. He knows the illus- 
tration that I'ia going to use as I begin this sermon. He also knows, un- 
comfortably so, the text that I'm going to read, because it's not one of his 
favorites. 

Well, here's the Illustration. Maybe it came out in the Haw Yorker , I 
don't remember, but the cartoonist had sketched for us the newly-arrived within 
the Pearly Gates. He not only has a surprised look on his face, a pleasantly- 
surprised look, X dare say, but also now a curious look . . and how he says 
to the angel in charge, who is hovering over him, the newly-arrived- in-Heavan 
now says to tha Aagel-in-Charge hovering over him: "Tell me, if you don't mind, 
just what good deed in particular was it that 1 did that tilted tha scales in 
my favor?" 

...for you see, this is reminiscent to the kind of thing 
to which some of us continue to hold. It goes on from 
our impressionable days in childhood, when God was portrayed 
for us seated in Heaven above, or if not God, then St. Peter, 
with that great big book, we were told on a certain page was 
your name, my name, and then day by day the record was kept — 
every good deed that we did was put down and every bad deed 
that we did was likewise recorded... .and then when we came to 
the end of our life we'd be confronted by the record. And we 
either gained Heaven, or we were denied it, according to the 
record that we ourselves had written. 



"PROVE IT" (3) 

In much the same maimer, in much the same spirit the newly-arrived- in- 
Heaven doesn't think about the correctness of his belief, he's not concerned 
with his creed, but he honestly believes that he gets to Heaven because some- 
where along the line the scales were tilted in his favor because of something 
that he had done, either a grand slam, or one thing above all the others. 

Well now Martin Luther, if he were here, he'd be squirming aplenty. In 
fact, it could well be that he'd be debating in his own mind as to whether he 
ought to stay until the sermon would be finished. And if that wouldn't be 
enough to jolt him, now I want to read to you the text, the 20th verse of 
the second chapter of the Epistle of James. 

...now you Bible students, you know very well that Martin 
Luther had no time for that Epistle. He even branded it 
"An Epistle of straw" — ha could get along without it! 
Here's the text: "Faith without works is dead." 

Now even if you can't visualise Martin Luther being present now, about 
to get up and leave, I can visualise him turning in his grave and trying 
to struggle to his feet to shake a disapproving fist in my face. Now what 
I'm really doing after 453 years it doesn't take too much courage, but I'm 
taking Martin Luther on. I've studied his side of the story, I've listened 
to it - - and I believe it! And X come today to ask for equal time. 

But let's give him credit. Let's understand why he felt the way he 
did and why he said, "By faith alone a man is saved." H® gave us to under- 
stand, and properly so — you hear me, don't you? — "and properly so" — 
that nothing that a man might do In itself would gain him entrance into 
Heaven, that you and I simply will never become good enough so that solely 
on our own merit the gates of Heaven will open automatically. Martin Luther 
was the product of his day, and rightly ec He grew up in a church that was 
telling people, the big thing is the records the big thing is not grace, 






but merit . ........you say so many prayers, you give so much money, you get 

credited to your account so many charitable deeds — this is what matters 
most. 

I tell you honestly, I set troubled sometimes when X go to a church that 
I love because I think it's the most majestic in all of Christendom — and 
I've seen a number of cathedrals in my day — St. Peter's in Rome. But 
despite its grandeur and the way it inspires and lifts the spirit, I remem- 
ber how some of those stones went up, block upon block, because in the time 
of Martin Luther people were told that just because they gave to th e building, 
of St. Peter's, they could be assured of Heaven. They even had John Tetzel 
going around the country-side selling indulgences. They had a jingle: 

"As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, 
The soul out of purgatory's fire springs." 

...and a drunk, lying in a gutter on a Saturday night, could feel somewhat 

secure he wouldn't have to go to Mass the next day, he wouldn't have to 

go to confession! — because of something that he had done — and here was 

a piece of paper to prove it. 

So against feat kind of thing, Martin Luther with rll of his German 
stubbornness cane down heavy and said, "This and this alone — by faith a 
man is saved, by what he believes, not by the way ha behaves necessarily." 

Don't get me wrong, to the day I die I'll draw immeasurable comfort that 
Ileaven will be mine because of what Jesus Christ has done. Kothing that You 
and I will ever hear will be more wonderful than that, and even as it was 
true for the dying thief, so it may be true for ma: "Lord, save!" — and 
in true faith as I call upon Him Ha will answer with redeeming love. 

Sure, I remember what Martin Luther said, we'll never be good enough to 
get to Heaven . . . sure I remember the way it was put: no matter how nobly 

intentioned we may be, at best we offer Jesus Christ rotten wood 









out of which to carve, and a lame horse to ridel 
But now that I*ve reminded you again o£ Martin lather's side of the 
story, let me tell you mine. It's never enough just to say you believe 
in Jesus Christ as long as you live on this earth, but as long as you live 
on this earth you've got to back up your belief with your behavior. For 
faith without works is useless, it's meaningless. 

I used to think, honestly I did, that I'd like to be a traveling evan- 
gelist for my Lord, and I would know a measure of delight in going from 
place to place, surrounded with somebody like ours at the keyboard, and 
with a choir such as this, we'd set up a three-night stand here, we'd 
preach the Gospel for all we'd be worth — give the altar call, and know 
the satisfaction of somebody coming up and giving his life to the Lord. 
It's a great thing, honestly it is, to see someone come and take this be- 
ginning step . . . 

. . . but then it: occurred to me, there's something more 
'■■■- 'i?'.- a ;/<;.::•, -, . &■■::{ - ;_ " \g stspE "feos-a '' ?• 
always the kind of thing that you and X are up to every Lord's 
Day — this nurturing o»f our faith, this receiving constant 
assurance that we're being empowered, this absolute necessity 
of getting marching orders as to what we're meant to do. 
I have a quarrel with some folks who make much of the beginning step, 
and then walk away as though that warn all that mattered » It is necessary 

belief with his behavior. Creed is necessarily the cause for eeaduet. 

When I was courting Winifred, a song in those days that was popular went 
something like this: "What Can I Say, Dear, After I Say I'm Sorry f" - - well 
honestly, for those of us who have taken that route, there isn't much tt 
you can say. But there's a whole lot that you can do. And that's the 



important eking. It's never enough just to come to Jaaus Christ and ask 
Hfca to forgive you, which if your h«art ia right He moot certainly will. 
But then something has to happen beyond that, and this is the other side 
of the story. Faith and action belong together. 

Gaorga Butterlck, one of the giants of the pulpit of tha America® scene, 
Pastor and preacher of Ifadison Avenue Presbyterian Church for & number of 
years, roust have had the saras jibes that I've experienced, because I sing 
his prais© as I remind you now of something that he did. Ha had a very 
wealthy woman in hi® congregation who had become very crochety — inpatient 
with people, they got on her nerves. She almost became a disciple of Jean 
Paul Serte who said: "Hall is other people. If they wouldn't be around it 
would be a heaven." Before she knew it she was treating thesn unkindly. . . . 

....wall, God b® praised, she had a conscience, and she 
knew that this did not become the Christian. And so she cas&m 

to Dr. Butter ick and she wanted to know If Gad could forgive 

.. . : <ap:Cj : ;;>,■,',, '&%.:: im^s£:.:. tC -.:■:-.:-& fet : ; ,v-''.\*X >-. eM ^il mv^vr:: '»&::; m^ 
pastor would do — he said, "Of course God will forgive you if 
you're truly sorry." So she confessed, and he gave her the 

anas*. But he didn't stop at that point! 
He gave h&x a jolt. He said, "Mm? that you're forgivsa, I'm 
going to tell you something - - tt . . . sad he rose to his full 
authoritarian responsibility as a pastor and he said, "How 
that you're forgiven, I want to tell you something. You get 
':■■■■■■■ •i:.^s'".- : ■-><-■'<;•■■. ; K,C':-: >y:; '[-M'.ri c .?v&2.::. st-wj ?;r:v-;i?,]f ror.si.Ag.-. feiJKu 
1 know you have a limousine, sure I know you have a chauffeur — 
y©« have him bring you t& this church every Tuesday morning, assd 
then you come into the church office, and then you have the sacra 



tary give you the names of our people who are sick or in the 

hospitals, and you go visit them and if at all possible, 

take flowers when you go to see thetn." 
She listened. She obeyed . 

When she died, they all referred to her as "The gracious little 

old lady with the flowers" . , . 
But it all happened, you see, because Dr. Butterlck had the good wisdom to 
put faith and action together. It would never have happened if he simply 
said* "God loves you, and you're forgiven." 

But the God who loves us and the God ^ho forgives us also gives us s 
measure of time. Why did He give us time? So that we might prove the 
integrity of our words. "What Can I Say, a®ar, After I Say I'm Sorry f" 
- - - not much. But you can do an awful lot. That's what also matters. 

Now that I've told you Martin Luther's side of the story a while ago, 
I hope I can hear him say across the eeafaaries, "Hell, it was alright, You 
said to Saint Luke congregation on Sunday morning, October 26, what had to 
'■-v rmixU" &■_■■■.:& ^tc;:,:..i X mUs-m., 

* * e ft 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 






» 



Sermoa - Pastor ilaymond Shaheen 

All Saints' Sunday November 2. 1975 

" A CHRISTIAfl'S VIEW OF MATH" 

GRACE, Mercy and peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christy , our Blessed Lord. Ataan. 

It's & perfectly beautiful 2*overaber morning, you know that very well. 
Let ne suggest, however, that you shift your minds backward to the month of 
August, and visualise with me as best you can the week that some of us spent 
the Saint Luke Week at Camp, Camp ifewakwa, in the South * fountains of Adams 
County near historic Gettysburg. We have been going there now for a number 
of years, as you know. 

And one of the very fine things that our Director of Youth Ministry has 
decided would be continued as a tradition is the observance of Horning Watch. 
Now this may sound strange to some of you, and let me explain it immediately. 

Horning Watch is that quarter-o£~an-hour which is given to personal 
prayer and meditation as the day begins. Before anything else happens, that 
is even before w© eat breakfast, every camper with his Bible in hand and the 
especially prepared devotional material, goes to his rock, or to his tree, to 
his special spot, and there for a quarter-of-an-hour, prays, reads the Bible, 
meditates. 

It so happened that this past year one of the youngest members of the 
camp body — not a camper as such because ha was only in the third grade, a 
9-year old camper because his family happened to be there — thought he'd like 
to participate in Homing Watch too. 

It was a bit strange to him, naturally it was s and so he asked if he 
could buddy-up with his grandfather . . . and so the two of them went, morning 
by morning, to their particular spot, and because ha was able to read they 



th" (2) 



shared responsibility — sometimes he would read from the Bible and then some- 
times the grandfather would read the devotional material, or they would rotate. 

Well I should also tell you th(*t the material for this past summer for the 
Horning Watch was based upon the general theme that we live in God's home, that 
all of this created world belongs to God, and not only this world, but Heaven, 
too. God's home is in Heaven, and God's home is also hare on earth. Now that 
was the theme. 

But I should also tell you that on that one day, when they were dealing 
with this theme, the last paragraph dealt with a rhetorical question, and the 
grandfather read it — with the grandson alongside of him now, gat the picture 
— the rhetorical question was, based on this general th«me: "Are you ready 

to go to your Heavenly Home?" and bless that 9-year-old, he blurted out 

spontaneously: "Hoi There are a lot of things X want to do. I'm not ready 
to go to my Heavenly Home." 

How X want to suggest to you that there are a lot of people who have never 
gotten beyond that stage. They cherish the thought that God gives us not only 
earth but Heaven too, but as far as Heaven is concerned, it can wait a while 
....as far as dying is concerned, they're not at all pleased to think about 
it. 

As X announce the test for today's sermon, on this All Saints' Sunday, 
X am fully aware of the fact that this sermon could have limited appeal, albeit, 
I'm warning you, a frank confession on my part — I'd like to think of it as 
one of my better sermons - - - perhaps I ought to phrase it this way: one 
that's less poor. A great deal of my heart and soul has gone into the prepara- 
tion of this sermon. And now the title: "A CHRISTIAN'S VIEW OF DEATH." How I 
want to be honest with you — I know it has limited appeal, and X know soma of 
you may be turning me off right now, because you're not at all inclined to 



(3) 



Chink about the fact of death. You'd like to ignore it, and you're numbered 
with any number of people that I know who would deny it if they could. 

We Christians are a strange breed, honestly. One of the most wonderful 
things that we say that we have in our Christian faith is the hope of Heaven 
....but not very many Christiana want to die to get there! There's a text 
for today's sermon — of course there is — the words of our Biassed Lord that 
eoaie from a passage of Scripture I dare say that I have read at every single 
funeral that I have ever conducted. I can think of no better tine that those 
words could be read, except of eosarse before death, that they might hold us 
in good stead and better prepare us to face the fact of death. Our Blessed 
Lord, anticipating the fact that His days on earth were limited, called to- 
gether a bunch of precious people. They were His friends. And to help prepare 
them against the fact that one day He would no longer be with them, He spoke 
those words that have been recorded for us in the 14th chapter of John. Among 
all that He spoke, here is the word for today: 

"Don't be troubled, and don't be afraid." 

Now I'm suggesting to you that the Church needs to sit down and face with 
its peoples the fact of death. It's inevitable. Hone of us escapes it! You 
know, of course you do, that here in Saint Luke we concern ourselves with the 
common experiences in life. The Parish Deaconess sets up special conferences 
to deal with Baptism — the high and holy regard we give when a child is bora 
to this world, and the voice of the Church wants to be heard — we have some- 
thing to say about the birth of a child...... 

....you know very well that Faster David and I would 

never think of conducting a marriage ceremony without 
first scheduling an interview with the couple who plan 
to be married , because neither he nor I went into the 






A" (4) 



ministry just to marry people....... 

We've gone into the ministry to introduce at all times the divine perspective, 
the Christian truth, and so as we talk with a couple about being married, we 
give them, to all intents and purposes, some measure of pre-marital counseling, 
really we do, because the Church does have something to say about the Christian 
home and the Christian family. But when it comes to this other aspect, which 
most certainly is a part of the common experiences of life ~ death — we 
haven't said too much. 

And maybe you've conditioned us. I don't know what the response would be 
— I'm inclined to thing it wouldn't be very great — that if we set up a 
seminar on Death and Dying, it could have limited appeal. And yet even on a 
college campus now for some students it's become increasingly popular. But, 
there is the child who said, indicating the reaction of many an adult — I don't 
like the word. Can't we have some other word for it?" But whatever the word 
you may choose, it still represents the same fact, and it is inevitable. 

I want always to be honest with you, in or out of the pulpit. I want you 
to know this regarding this sermon: I feel very comfortable preaching it. Hot 
that I've lost my zest for living — God forbid! I've never bean more in love 
with life than now, and I savor each day and cherish each opportunity that God 
gives me day by day to do something for Him. .....but there was a time in my 

life when I shied away thinking about death. Even in that small town in which 
I grew up, when the wreath was placed upon the door where tha home had been 
visited by the Angel of Death, I'd tiptoe very gingerly past that house, with 
a measure of fear possessing my soul. And even to this day, when I look back 
end remember where the funeral home was In that small town a® a kid, I'd always 
walk on the other side of the street! But this morning I come with a measure 
of courage, out of a sense of duty» bo talk with you about the Christian view 



.. ;-y.,;, :.. ,.:.:/.. .;.. ... ■,.:.. -■■:.. .,./;. U; 



of death. For several reasons, undoubtedly. 

One, because the Christian Church has something to say about It. 

And secondly, because e© much of our thinking at times is far less than 
Chris tian when we think or deal with death. 

Don't misunderstand me, X have my moments when I give our other Pastor 
here in Saint Luke Church high marks, Just as I've dealt with any other 
pastor who has served on our staff. I gave him high marks not so long ago 
when he told me that he'd introduced into the Youth Ministry of Saint Luke 
Church a seminar on Death and Dying, and that twice within the past two years 
he took a group of young people into a funeral home, that they might bring a 
Christian perspective to even the kind of thing that happens there. The 
Christian Church does have something to say about it. 

Now let's get back to those words of our Blessed Lord. First He says, 
"Don't be troubled by it." But we are. And just because we're human. 

We're troubled by it because it can come so unexpectedly. May I tell 
you that as far as I am concerned — and this may sound presumptuous to you -~ 
I think I can almost handle anything if I have enough warning. With your help 
and with a bit of prayer I think X could devise a strategy. But death some- 
times comes without warning, it comes so unexpectedly. And that troubles us. 
Xt could come as quickly as that! 

And then because we've seen the way others have ended their earthly pil- 
grimage, it could be so exactin g . .... it could be so tedious , the deterioration 
that sets in until a person breathes his last frightens some of us — if that 
should happen to us or someone that we love. So we're troubled by it. 

We're troubled by it beoeuse basically death is a mystery. Honestly it 
is. Only Jesus Christ remains the authority on what happens on the other side, 



"A Christian's View of Death" (6) 

and so we're stratified by it, and that troubles some of us. 

But honestly now, just because it's a mystery, should it trouble usf 
Life is a mystery. Bless her soul, as she crosssd the threshold — X also 
greeted her this isorning — and in the brief conversation that we had, she 
said, "Remember me in your prayers — the baby will be due in February "...the 
transmission of life through two people.... how it happens. Sometimes we're 
mystified even though we know the act that causes it to occur. But to think 
that God would entrust two people with the glorious privilege of the trans- 
mission of life! 

kovs is a mystery. To think that two people should meat and they should 
feel toward each other as they would never again feel toward any other parson! 
And to have something in their hearts that reflects as nothing else does the 
pure love of God for this world and the world yet to corns. We don't shy away 
from these things. Yet we're inclined to shy away from death because it's a 
mystery. So we're troubled by it. 

And you know what? We're also troubled by it because we refuse to allow 
ourselves to think in terms of our own death. We may fael comfortable think- 
ing about the death of somebody else, but not my own. 

...I smile broadly, as undoubtedly you will too, the 
cartoon that I saw of the mum and woman up in years in 
their rockers, rocking away on the porch. They're re- 
flecting, according to the cartoonist's Instruction that 
he gives us, that sow they've reached a certain stage in 
life where, as ®h# says, more and mors of their friends 
are disappearing from the scene, the eircle gats smaller 

and smaller and she says to him, "And on® of these 

days there's only going to be one of us left "....and he 






" A Christian's View of Death" (7) 

says to her, "And when that happens, I'm moving to 
Arizona." 

....it's always the other parson, you see, It's 
not going to happen to me. 
Says Jesus Christ, "Don't be troubled by It." But it's one thing to tell a 
person not to be troubled, it's another thing to be able to give him the 
reasons why he need not be troubled. 

Jesus Christ said, "Don't be afraid of It." But we are afraid of it. 
When I was in school they told ree there were two basic fears known to the 
mind of man — instinctively he was afraid of & loud noise... instinctively 
he was afraid of falling. And I would add a third f«ar: he's afraid of dying, 
not only for himself but those whom he loves. 

Don't get ma wrong — - I'm every bit as human as you are, and I too would 
feel the ache, the pain, the sorrow and the enforced loneliness that you 
would feel. And I suppose we're also afraid because it's such a solitary 
experience. Each man must die by himself. And the facing of death also con- 
stitutes something of a solitary experience. I remember when our family circle 
was first broken by the Angel of Death hovering around us . . . one of v*our 
number wrote me a precious note and she said, as sOxet ministered to my nee 4, 
"There is no detour around sorrow." It did me good \to realise that. And 
while I felt the ache and the pain then, surely I would feel it again whenever 
it happens, and undoubtedly more so aasct time, when it would come closer and 
closer and closer. 

But we have to remember who we are. In Africa and Korea the missionaries 
tell us that the one thing that distinguishes the Christian from the pagan if* 
the way th©y fac© death. Says Jesus Christ, "We're meant to fact it triumphant- 
ly" . . . echoes the Apostla Paul, "Death is can enemy but it's the last enemy, 
and it is meant to be conquered." Says Jesus Christ, "Because I live you too 
shall live." 



- 



"A Christian's View of Death" (8) 

Did you ever hear of Charles Wer&anbaker?/ He was a writer and editor of 
Time, magasine. Lee me tell you a bit about him. 

He learned that the lump in his stomach was cancerous. What do you sup- 
pose he did la the face of that fact? When I tell you what his initial reaction 
was, you might say Bravo! For this was his initial reaction: he decided to 
swim out into the ocean near his home, to look back and to remember for the 
last time 9 and then to fill Ms lungs with water, The alternative, hs said, 
was hospitals..,, pain. ... besoming a patient instead of a person.. ..reduced to 
something less than a man who could swim out to meet his death. You might say 
Bravo I 

But I'm happy to tell you he changed his mind. Having suffered little 
physical pain during his life, he felt it would be a cowardly thing to avoid 
it new. An exploratory operation revealed that he had only three months to 
live. Against the judgment of his doctor®, Wertenbaker decided to go home to 
die. A© the family faced the truth themselves, they also repealed it to many 
of their friends and neighbors. They renewed their relationships, and they 
paid their respeets to the living before ha died. . , . . 

....he talked with his wife, and they kept nothing back. 
...his son, mind you, at that stage in his life, taught 
hlra how to play the guitar \ 
....he began to write a short book. The appreciation of daily experiences in- 
creased. There was as never before the sound of Bash ...new appreciation for 
the taste of food.... the feeling of the sand and the wind. He looked inward, 
he reviewed and evaluated himself in his relations with others.... he looked 
outward, and he looked upward..... 

.....Hear the end, glad he had not taken his swim into the ocean, he wrote, 
"Why, I would have drowned th© best part of my life." 



It's possible for th« Christian to £«ea it triumphantly. Jesus Christ 
oakes that resource available to us. It isn't if a mm dias....*aad it nay 
not be so much whm a tasa dies.... as to how a asan. &i.m» Jasus Christ says, 
"Don't be troubled by it* and dos't fee afraid." 

Do you reaienbe? that play that** titled. , "The Dark At The Top of His 
Stairs"? - - the couple talk to their little boy and say, "Why are you afraid 
©£ to® dark at the top of th® stall's?" H« answers as only a little boy would 
answer a "Because 1 don't know what's up there, sad I*« afraid to go alone." 

...th® toother, every bit a mothers, takes a hand, and 
she says, "We'll go up to It together." 

For every one of us there's always the dark at the top of the stair®. 
Call it. death if you want to. And hear the words of Jesus Christ, who says, 
"I'll go with you. 1 will never leave you. I will not forsake you." 



* 



ClMs semen transcribed as recorded) 






Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

"A tIATTER OF REC ORD" 

GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amaa. 

The front page of the currant issue of Saint Luke MESSEHGER carried 
the introductory words for today's sermon. It did not, however, give you 
the title for today's sermon, nor did it give you the text. Let me give 
you the title now. Today's sermon bears the title: "WHEN XT BECOMES A 
MATTER OF RECORD^ . . . snd the text, the second verse of Psalm 107: 

"Let the redeemed of the Lord sav so " 

Now these introductory words to this sermon as they appeared on the 
front covar of the currant issue of this week's HESSEHGER: 

"I would not go , , „ I would not do it! How could 
I?' So he answered the question that someone la 
our group had asked him. Be answered us by putting 
a question to us in turn: a rather clever thing to 
do, of course. But he was being awre honest than 
clever, and that is the point that we dare not sales 
in the recollection of that Sunday night conversa- 
tion of a week ago that is now about to be shared 
with all of you ..." 

Well, you're entitled to a bit of background. You ought to know mem.- 
thing about this man with a determined voice. 

Be Is a pastor. He is the son of a pastor. He Is married to the 
daughter of a pastor. He had come to our shores from Germany, where he 
serves a congregation in Hamburg. Ruth and Al Storslc© and Selaer and 
Dorothy Borland in our behalf very graciously served as their hosts. 

A© thay were about to conclude their visit before their return to 
Germany, it was possible for some of us to gather together Informally la 
Bleber Hall to share with them our common concern for the work of Jesus 



"A MATTER OF RECORD" <2) 



Christ aed His lioly Church. We talked about hew it's being done aver there, 
we talked about how it 'a being dona here. We were especially interested 
because you know the report comes to us that Europeans don't take the church 
as seriously as we do here in the States. In the Scandinavian areas they 
may take pride in the fact that la Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland , 
that 90% of the people are Lutheran, because Lutheran is the so-called 
"State Church." And yet I resaes&er my first visit to Sweden, the university 
town of Luad in southern Sweden - - at that time the population of about 
20,000. There was that beautiful majestic church of St. Lawrence, the oldest 
church in northern Europe, to which soma 20,000 people supposedly would gravi- 
tate...... yet I remember ay friend, one of the pastors, telling ma that lass 

than 200 sight be there on a given Sunday. So it was against that kind of 
background, you see, that our conversation continued. 

And than a small number of us tarried a bit and before we knew it we w««s 
at the parsonage, and in that circle of conversation more questions were asked. 
And one was raised especially about the integrity of church membership in his 
congregation. And from that we went on to talk about the way he ministered 
to the people, the kind of pastoral concern he had for them. And bless hie 
soul, every bit a man of God, he said, "I visit.... 1 perform weddings... . I 
conduct funerals — for those who are members it's no problem." But tfcea 
very earnestly he said, "For those who are not members, here we have a problem." 

We had a troubled look on our faces, and then h© said, "Let me explain." 
And as he continued he told ua about somebody asking him to conduct a funeral 
for a man. The man had lived alone, and when he was discovered dead in hie 
apartment the neighbor cams to this pastor and said, "Would you conduct 
Christian burial for him?" 

We waited for the answer. We thought most certainly he would say, "Why 



"A m,T£m_Q7_BECpm^[ <3) 






of course I willl" - » because you happen t© have two pastors serving you 
who are cut from tha aaiae cloth, and neither of us has ever refused, iu the 
time of need, to provide a pastoral ministry as God gives us strength, But 
'■>•■ -'ia tsohold, this pastor said, when ha mm aaka4 to cendtaet Christian burial 
for this sasa who had died, he said: "X ■would sot go - - how could If I said 
Ho," 

Still s®olng tha troubled look on our faces » ha said, "Let rae explain, 
la our congregation any number of people get their name on tha church roll 
aa children when they are baptised, and a high percentage of people still 
are baptised aa children. But there does eorae a time whan — aa a matter of 
record — a man baa to sign a card indicating whether he atill wants to stick 
with the church. As a matter of record, he has to sign indicating his desire 
£o SHBE2E& th « chorea, indicating his eerneat willingness to see tha work of 
the Lord advanced. When he signs that card it becomes a matter of record 
that he supports the work, aad wants to see the Church of Jesus Christ go 
forward. When he refuses to sign, this too becomes; a matter of records — 
that he does not want to support the church end has no desira to sea it ad- 
vanced. I happen to know that this man, when he was given the chance to 
sign, refused to sign." 

...with all due credit to our visitor from overseas, he was a 
man of God, with a finely-honed conscience* For him it was 
basically a matter of integrity — how then could he go end 
conduct Christian burial for a man who, as e matter of record, 
had indicated no interest in the work of the Lord? 
We have been brought up short by that. It's caused a great deal of 
sober reflection. The text for today's sermon: "Let the redeemed of the Lord 
say so - - ".......if you know what God has done for you, as one who has drawn 

full benefit from the gracious deed which Jesus Christ has accomplished in our 



"A jMMBER OF RBCggn^ (4) 



behalf - sines we are given the assurance that we are feeing saved, that 
before each of us there is the prospect of BMW . . . since we are bei&g 
shown that w ® don't have to go to BUI, that we oan live the Ufa of the 
redeemed, and because you're being saved hara and now - - - than lat the 
redeemed say so! Lat them m&k© it a matter of record! 

This God of ours is always giving us claw. This God of ours is always 
Z±v±ng a. opportunity by which to make things a matter of record, whan He 
endowed us with the freedom of will, What is this but the God-given oppor- 
tunity to make things a aatftar of *»fffff| i 

Whan we deal with those precious young people who come to m for Con- 
firmation, at th* beginning of tha year, I surprise them, I suppose, when I 
say s "You don't have to be confirmed. There arc a lot of people who will 
live and die aftd never be confirmed in tha Christian faith. You are not 
being forced into it. But now that you're in this class, if you want to be 
confirm come Pautecost, you will be confirmed because you want to be con- 
firmed — because vow will make it a mat tor of record! 

By deliberate design we've altered the Confirmation Service here in 
Saint Luke Church so that whan a youngster is confirmed, he walks right up 
to the altar, and the Pastor puts the question to him specifically and 
directly: "Do von believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do vou want to serve 
Him through His Holy Church?" ... and then in advance we tell theo at that 
point everybody is going to be quiet - you've heard me tell you this before, 
you who are present now, you've heard me tell you this - at that point every- 
one's quiet. It isn't the voice of the Pastor that's going to be heard.... it 
isn't the voice of the father or the mother, nobly intantieasd as they may 
be, and caught up in this significant moment, that's going to be heard. X 
say to the confirmand: "It's vour voice that's going to be heard - yen are 



*A MATTER OF RBCOED" 



the oca who makes It a. matter ef jrecerd. 

...on Saturday of this week, sura, w* have reason to believe that 
they are by love possessed — shay knew that already — but at 
one o'clock, hare before the altar, a man and a woman will 
stand and in the presence of other people will pledge devotion 
and stake it a matter of record , so that there should be no 
question about it..... 
In so taany way* God ia always giving us a chance to make it a matter ©f record. 

Whan Bryaa and Mary Redington first cams into this ares they lived in an 
apartment house, and I can remember conversations with thaa, for about that time 
a study was being «ade that some 60% of all the people who moved into the metro- 
politan ar«a chose to live la apartment houses. And that same study also re- 
vealed that only about 4 ?, of the people who lived in apartment houses became 
active with a church or a synagogue. Sryce and !Jary used to sell me that when 
they sot up to con* to church they felt as though they ware the only ones out 

ther* its the parking let .but even as they drove away, if anyoaa should 

see them, it became a matter of rec ord. And when they would return, if anyone 
would engage sheia in conversation, it became a matter of record. 

....some of you walked here to church this morning. Would you 
be willing to believe that even as you walked it became a 
matter of record, because there were people who saw in what 
direction you were going. . «. . 

.... recognise it for what it's worth — these people who step 
here for che traffic light, at the intersection of Colesbille 
Road and rtale Drive - - there are those who take a glance in 
this direction and they do take note of the fact that you're 
heading for these doors - - it does become a natter of record.... 
God is always giving us opportunity to establish the record. 



a Luxum. ue *u,Wiur \,t»/ 






Why do I preach this sermon to you on this day in particular? Because 
tomorrow or during the week you'll be getting a communication from Saint Luke 
Church. You'll get a little folder like this — it will only take you about 
two minutes to read it, maybe. It bears the title, "A llatter of Record". I 
don't mind telling you, I addressed an envelope on Friday and sent one of 
these to my friend, Dr. Albert Stauderman, the Editor of The LUTHERAN. He's 
been here to Saint Luke Church, and in the little note that I wrote him I 
said, "Dear Al, as one pastor in a particular place to another who is fortunate 
enough to serve as the Pastor of the Church at large, I thought you'd be inter- 
ested in this single promotional piece by which we address the congregation in 
behalf of the 1976 budget that could be somewhere between $375,000 and $400,000. 
I thought you'd be interested in this, a single promotional piece." And I know 
very well when I next see Dr. Stauderman, he'll shake his head and say, "How 
can it be done? — no direct visitation. .. .no assigning of quotas! " and I'll 
say to him in your behalf, it's the integrity of the people of Saint Luke Church 
who make it a matter of record as to how they feel about the Lord's work, when 
they sign it becomes the evidence of their concern. 

Why shouldn't I tell you these things? I've already spoken with six peo- 
ple who are planning to be part of the next New Members' Group. How many more 
there will be we never know until the group is formed. One of them engaged me 
in personal conversation. He had only worshipped here once. And then he came 
and he said, even before the class was formed — "Send me a pledge card" — 
and I presume he tithes..... and then he did something that nobody else has 

ever done before, and I don't encourage it as a matter of record, he said, 

"You can count on me for $42.00 a week" he isn't even a member! But as 

a matter of record he's seeing what you, the people of Saint Luke Church, are 
up to — he's caught your spirit! He knows how we have a concern for the work 
of the Lord Jesus Christ at home and abroad. He wants to be part ©£ it because 



**. *■ ** A ■** A ***> V* MAdlWV<.\A/ 



\'/ 



o£ the record which you've already written. lou can put it that wey. 

Mr. CofieM, a delightful person, our chief custodian, ia a Deacon in the 
Upper Boom Baptist Church over on Minnesota Avenue in the District of Columbia. 
Som of us have gone over there. Oh occasion I have seen able to preaeh from 
their pulpit. They've shown us around, and with pride they indicate the wait- 
ing room where the new convert stands and then disrobes and gets ready to put oa 
the baptismal gown before he goes down into the baptistry . . . 

...with a twinkle in his eye Mr. Cofield once told me about 
a candidate for baptism who went dowa into the baptistry with the preacher, 
and the preacher was about to reach for him, and h® slipped away — not 
into the water, but he went back up the steps. And th© preacher was un- 
nerved, of course he was — was he losing a candidate so soon? — and as 
he grabbed him, graciously 1 hope, he said, "Where are you going?" and 
he said, "I forgot something." And Mr. Cofield said the preacher said, 
"What did you forget?" He said, "I forgot my wallet!" And th® preacher 
said, "Don't be troubled. It will be safe where it is, it will be all 
right — nobody will take it*" And th® candidate for baptism said, 
"That isn't the point. When I get baptized I want my poeketbook baptized 
too --".,,. a» a mat tip of record! 

In the new marriage service afeat Pastor David and I have given our blessing 
to in Saint Luke Church, there's a new wording that we've introduced. When the 
ring is slipped on the finger, among other words these words are spoken: " - and 
with all that I am and all that 1 have, 1 honor you ia the nam© of God" - - it 
bseomas & matter of record. God is always giving us this chance to make things 
a matter of record. 

la these delightful sessions to which I've already alluded, we've had these 
days of the past week in Bieber Hall, Pastor David and I agreed that this year 
it would be different. Heretofore, he and I, we ware the ones responsible for 



a. i'larxcK uf tciiujim" <_«> 






the feature presentation. But we surprised the people who caae for the most part, 
and we said, "This year you make the presentation"...., and as a feature of the 

evening , as the folks were seated around the tables, we asked them to engage 
themselves in conversation dealing with the provocative question: What difference 
would it make in your life, if Saint Luke Church went out of existence a week 
from today?" While it may be hypothetical for us, the fact does remain that 
within the last ten years two sister Lutheran congregations in Washington did 
disband and go out of existence.,... 

....we were deeply gratified by the testimony that was given by 

those who spoke. Occasionally we bad a surprise participant, the 
last person to apeak. And that person didn't know who he or she 
would be until the person was annouaeed....... 

1 made bold to ask, in a surprise fashion, a young mother who has been part of 
our life throughout her formative years to go to the laicrophoae. She did. 
She wa3 nervous, as you might suppose. And when she walked away she walked 
away in much the same fashion as I have when I*ve come from the pulpit some- 
times and wished that I could have said it better - - I had say chance, but I 
could have done better. Well, that's the way she felt when she went home, and 
so on Wednesday night she left here around 9:30 — listen to this . . . 
"Bear Pas tor , it's 11:00 o* clock. We just got home from the 
Fellowship Supper after picking up Laurie and DJ at my parents* house. 
I just said to Doug that 1 always wished for aa opportunity to tell a 
large group of people what Saint Luke has meant to me. I got that chance 
tonight and what did I do? X shook. 

Doug suggested that I write an op«n letter to the congregation, 
but I said Ho to that. And yet I've always intended to write a letter 
to youj Pastor, to tell you how much growing up in Saint Luke has meant 
to me . . w 



"A HATTER OF RECORD" (9) 






(I hop* you won't make light of it, but I try to 
control my emotions, out when X first read this 
letter I was moved to tears — maybe you* 11 under- 
stand why) 

"... I've always intended to write a letter to you, Pastor, to tell 
you how much growing up in Saint Luke has meant to me. I feel so very 
fortunate that I had the opportunity to grow up in Saint Luke. You 
know, all my closest friends were the kids at church, and most of my 
spare time was spent doing things in Saint Luke. There were the Con- 
firmation classes, choir practice, Luther League and Big Thursday . . " 

(that was the name for the mid-week gathering in her day 
for teenagers) 

" . . and tfcase nice Wednesday morning Bible classes during Lent . . " 

(we had them, you know, breakfast sessions and Bible study 
before the kids went off to school during the Lenten season) 



... 



I have so many joyful and deeply moving memories of those years 

and the people I knew then I recall the Variety Shows, especially the 

year we went to the Luther League of America Convention in Illinois — the 
congregation was so generous in their support. I remember Annie writing 
us a special note with her contribution...! remember every minute of the 
trip. Then there were these times at Mar-Lu-Mdge — (that's the week we 
epest at camp, up in the mountains) — that you mad© so special. I got 
such a warm fueling when you mentioned Morning Watch in your sermon last 
Sunday. I cherish my choir years. I remember one beautiful Christmas 
Eve and the choir was waiting to enter the candle-lit Nave. We looked 
out the Red Boors to see the quiet snow starting to fall . . we were to 
sing "In The Bleak Midwinter" and the snow made it all the more beautiful . 
...and X can't leave out again our Confirmation classes and Big 
Thursday — the Prayer Book we received when we were confirmed 
has been so valuable to me. I carried it with me on my wedding 
day and it has helped us through some rough times. It's a beautiful 



"A HATTER OF RECORD" (10) 



" . . little book. 

I must confess that when we moved to Reston, Doug and I looked 

for a church closer to home so we could be more active* but none could 

match the reverence we feel In Saint Luke ..." 

Now let me stop there for a minute — we can well afford 
to take the time. As a teenager she was Impressed by the 
reverence - - you see, you made it a matter of record, 
just by your demaanor when you came to God's House . . 

" . . but none could match the reverence we feel in Saint Luke. We 

didn't want Laurie to go to just any Sunday School. We wanted her to 

start out with that feeling one gets when you walk into Saint Luke, 

that you're in God's House. One church we went to for a while was 

O.K., but Laurie screamed ©very time she arrived at the Sunday School 

room. The first time we brought her to Saint Luke she loved it — the 

staff was bo warm to her. That's the main reason we've come back. I 

know what an Influence the church can have on a child and Doug and I 

realize this. We want Saint Luke's influence in the name of Jesus 

Christ on our precious Laurie . . . " 

...and then she goes on with some exceedingly personal things, equally precious, 

that I shan't read. But this is her concluding paragraph: 

"... Well these are some of my many thoughts I wanted to 

share with you. I've wanted to write tM.s letter for a number of 

years. It's mv_ "Pages in a Diary." 

So, bless her soul, she's made it a matter of record. 

You won't forget, will you, that when we come back next Lord's Day, we'll be 

bringing our signed pledge cards — a matter of record. And If I know anything 

at all about the God who Is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He's vitally 

Interested in the record that we will give Him to keep. In the final analysis, 

a great deal depends upon it. Thits I most certainly believe. 

* * * * 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Haymoad Shaheee 

Pentecost 26 - 8; 30 a.m. service Sovsmber 16. 1975 

- OS BAPTISM - 

GRACE, MSSCY and Peace from God 
our Father and from His Son Jesus 
Christ, our Blessed Lord. Amen. 

I covet for you the privilege that I enjoy Sunday by Sunday when I 
stand at this desk, to be able to look into your faces. I wish that all 
of you could see what I see. And especially so this morning. For as 
precious as anything to be seen anywhere ia the sight to my lefts fcha family 
pew, the mother holding a baby in her arms. In all Christendom, ia the field 
of art, there is no picture more frequently portrayed , aaide from that of our 
Blesssad Lord himself, than that of the Madonna and Child — the Holy Mother 
and the Christ Child. We do well to remember that. 

And I bring this to your attention Ijaaediately now because very shortly 
that child will be taken into the arms of a pastor and that child will be 
named for Jesus Christ. 

A number of weeks ago, with a ring in his voice he simply said, "Susie 
bad the baby - - can we make arrangements for the baptism?" This hour on 
this day was set. And so I've sat aside the sermon that I had planned to 
preach to talk to you particularly shout the Sacramesit of Baptism. It's most 
appropriate that that should happen now.. 

Let me remind you first of all of what a Sacrament Is. As the classic 
expression is: It's a visible sign of an invisible grace — something that 
we see indicating something that's taking piece that we can't see. It ia 
an allowance that's made because we are human. Down deep insids of us God is 
always at work and we need to dramatise it, we need to picture it, Down deep 
inside of us God is always visiting us, with His grace and with His favor, 
and human as ws are, we set aside certain times whes we say, "This is 



- On Baptism - (2) 

lag, nowl" 

Use the word properly, don't be afraid of it — dramatise — spelling 
out — making it visibl*. We do it all the time. And because we're human 
that's the only way sometimes we understand it. As an example, a man and a 
woman ara in love, They decide to spend the rest of thoir years together. 
They want each other to knew that the love that now possesses then is * 
love that's going to go oa. It isn't just for six months, as they understand 
it and as they want it ... it isn't just for six years. But no*? that they 
are in love they can 5 * think of ever being apart froia each other. They want 
to live out the rest of their years together. 

And occasionally ia that pre-marital session that I have when they cone 
to be married, and I put the first question to them: Tlhy do you want to be 
married? - - - ©very now and then the answer cones ~ and would you believe 
it, it's spoken by him, he aays, S, I can't think of living without hor»" 

*...and I say before she speaks, "I wouldn't want 
to marry the two of you if you could think of living 
apart. If you're givisg ms to understand that 
you're meant for each other and you want to spend 
— r *«t •»* y**w life together, then "fee Christian 
Church has something t© ssy to you ..." 
....well, the marriage service is conducted, you know, and there's a parti- 
cular asoBssat in the marriage service when he reaches for a ring. How pay 
attention — it's a ring. It's not something ha puts around her neck. It's 
not a pin he affixes to her dress. It's a ring that goes around the ficgar. 
He's dramatising something, he's spelling is out, Ea's drawing a picture of 
4t » JM» *•»• **» to go oa. There's no end to a circle, you see. There's 
no ending to a ring. Human as we are, w® do this sort of thing. 



>, 



Now, very shortly,, this hand of mine will reach into a bowl of watar — 
regular watar, plain ordinary tap watar. It 8 a not unusual, thara's nothing 
magical about it. And than as 1 hold this baby in the crook of ny arm I 
will speak certain words — I'll be dramatising something — I'll be spell- 
ing it out — I'll be drawing a picture is front of you. 

Water ia a cleansing agent. Did you ever try to wash your face without 
water? Did you ever even try to brush your teeth with simply tooth paste 
and without water? Prom the very beginning man has always looked upon water 
as a cleansing agent . So the Church very properly through the Sacrament of 
Baptism reaches for water to symbolise the fact that this child is being 
cleansed from sin* 

But you say to yourself very quickly — only a child.... can a child sin? 
But the Church believes in the doctrine of original sin, that from the very 
beginning there is this inclination toward evil, there is this desire that 
develops within us to act contrary to the mind of God. Any man who has 
lived any significant time knows very well that there is always this desire 
to do something that's contrary to God, and we have it from the very begin- 
ning. So in God's sight sin is sin, eo God says to this child, "Now, from 
this moment, I'm claiming you ~- 1 am claiming youf"....and sin becomes con- 
quered. 

We learn a great deal from the way other Christian groups practice their 
faith. Do you know that at one time in the Gvmk Orthodox Church, when a 
child was presented for baptism , as the child was hand@d to the priest sad 
the child was delivered safely into the arms of the priest, the father or 
the mother would turn aside and spit away from the child — spelling out, 
symbolic of the fact that they were now spitting upon the Devil, that no longer 
would evil be able to possess the soul of this child because now this child 






- On Baptism - (4) 

wes placed safely Into the eras of the Church, and that God would always 
watch over this child, that God would have a continuing concern for this child. 
You may say to me vary quickly, but God has a concern for this child even 
before eh« child's bean baptised! God has a concern for this child from the 
vary moment of conception. God was at work in the lives of the two people 
who become the parents of this child! Of course you're right. But human as 
we are, wa need our moments when wa spell this out, when we make it, if you 
please, a matter of record, when the thing is established in our sight and 
in the presence of other people as well. 

There are those who say that in and through baptism the child becomes 
part of the Family of God. This is true. But even before the act of baptism 
God is conscious of this child. God is concerned fox this child. But ia and 
through the Sacrament of Baptism we give the child a Christian name, the child 
ia named for Jeaus Christ! Not simply the name of the family into which it 
was bom, but now into the greater family which is the Family of God. We 
spell this out. W© dramatise it. This is ao longer our child. We ought 
never to think of this child as ours alone. Leslie Weatharhead, the great 
British preachers, used to say, "A child is a bit of two people, plus God" 
...and ie baptism the God-factor is forever being introduced. In baptism 
we remind ourselves that in God's sight we're all children. In baptism we 
remind ourselves that as long as we live we have a Heavenly Father who cares 
for us, who has a concern for us* 

I am fully aware of the fact that if someone walked in from the street 
who had ao sensitivity for the Christian religion, who had allowed himself 
to be separated from the truth of God, this is a meaningless act! H@'d ha 
no appreciation for it. But these are things that have meaning £m? thos* 
are inside the Family of God, for those of us who know themselves to b® His 
children. We wait, as the child is named for Jesus Christ, 



I've told aome of you that in yoara goo* by Winifred cad X used to go 
up eo Princeton, when the Presbyterian Church would sponsor a convocation 
during tha summer weak*. Occasionally we'd ait under those beautiful aim 
traas and Harris Kirk, at that time the distinguished preacher of Franklin 
Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, would speak to us informally. Ha 
told us one time about growing up in the daap South. He had a colored nanny 
who would put him to bad la the trundle bed at night. And when ehe tucked 
him in, in her dialect which I shan't attempt, she would say to him 9 "Harris, 
I've got to be good to you, ....Harris , I've get to watch over you.... Harris, 
I have to take real good care of you. You*r© God's child, you have: 



■ ' ■-■-"■•/ to yon with all eke strength that mj soul can command, stent a lif™ 
ference it would make in tha homes of our land, where Christ's Influence 
could be at work, if night after night when a child is tucked away into his 
bed, that the father or the mother, the brother or the sister, or the grand- 
mother, the grandfather, leaning over that child, could say, "I've got to 
take good caro of yon. You're something special! You're precious! You have 
bean baptised you're God's child!" This is what's happening in the Sacra- 
ment of Baptism — we're spelling It outs God's child. 

When I began my ministry I visited in a home and found that they had a 
young Timothy. And naturally, as you would think that I would, I spoke to 
them about the possibility of baptism. And the father shook his head: No. 
He wasn't interested in baptism. He'd done a great deal of reading, he'd 
moved around in different parts of tha world, ha had soma notions that were 
a little bit strange to the conventional Christian <. . ha wasn't golag to have 
his child baptized. 

And then I said, "Would you allow mo to come back some evening and we'll 
just talk about this in a quiet relaxed way?" Ha was kisd *;».©«g& to allow me 






to do that. And as we talked one evening, it seemed as though no progress was 
being made because — X must now reodtod you that this meditation has a text, 
you'll recognize tha words: "Suffer, tha little children to coma unto Ma and 

forbid them no t , for of such la the Kingdom of God" If Seemed as though wa 

waraa't staking much progress ia our conversation. And than I said to him, "What 
now do you really want most for this child of yours, your first-born?" And 
realistically ha answered, he wanted to be able to provide the child with 
food, clothing and shelter, and because they were interested in education, he 
said, "I've taken out a policy so that when the youngster gets ready for college, 
1*11 have the necessary funds. And then he mentioned a nuoiber of other things 
that he said ha wanted very much for that child. 

And then X looked him straight in the eye and X said, "Md it ever occur 
to yen, because you do have soma spiritual sensitivity, that the most wonderful 
thing in the world that you could ever give to this child is the introduction 
to the fact of God* and to do It at the earliest possible age?" And we went on 
from that point. And he made the decision then that the child would be baptised 
— because that's exactly what happens in baptism the precious truth of God is 
belag established,, and becomes, if X may say it again, a matter of record. 

May X tell you this, that seme time ago there was a son who for soma reason 

that seemed very important to him ran away from home. The father and the mother 

were totally unprepared for the experience. One day vent on after another. The 

father particularly almost went out of his mind. And then one day he wsnt to a 

Communion zmll where he end the boy had received Communion not long after he had 

been confirmed. And there he knelt in his private devotions, and a measure of 

peace came to his soul because he prayed something like thiss "God, he's been 

baptised — he's Your child. Wherever he is, watch evesr him. You promised to do 

it. Ton promised that no evil would come to him?" Then he walked at?ay. And that 

man said that prayer was answered. We spell it out when a child is baptized — he's 
Gcd^s child! Let's baptise the child now, the child of Jamas and Susan Kerns . . . 

(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Samoa - Taster Raymond Skaheen 

Xweaty-Sigth Sunday after Penteco st November 16, 1975 



'ej the here m> in the mi 



MAV.T" 



GRACE, Hercy and Peace from God 
oar Father and from His Son 
Jesus Christ, our Blessed Lord. 

Amen. 



A clever chap in Brooklyn, the owner and operator of aa automobile repair 
shop, some time ago took aa old car, in fact, ha took two old ears, same model, 
same type, and put them together, and then raada one car with the two of them. 
Which simply meant that the car that he fashioned out of the two old cars now 
had two fronts, two motors and t»o steering wheels. It could be drives both 
ways. When it's standing still no oas knows in which direction it's headed. 

I know some, people like that. They'd like to have it both ways. They'd 
likd to be able to move at will backward or forward. Each generation, I sup- 
pose, has its mood. Vu wondering now if we're coming into a generation that's 
going to make much of nostalgia, that looks back to other days and hones Ely be- 
lieves that they were the good old days., Is that one reason why folks are wear* 
ing granny glasses aad wearing granny dresses? Can yoo justify the interest 
in antiques on that score? Is.? this a reason why when some people decorate theii 
homes they bring an. interior decorator and ask that the introduction of a Gay 
90* s motif be had. tof could ±t be that in our day and in our age we're so 



disappointed:, we're oo disillusioned, that we keep talking about tfe« good oS 



a 



days, aad psychologically we're always heading backward, thinking that was the 

better age in which to live? 

'■■ '"■' ' - :■ '■-■'■■■■' ■ ■ • v- : ' ■''"'--■ ■ -i I * ;~-:- ■■';'-' ':; !r : ■■ >• . .,' u - 

this sacred desk this morning, 1 tell you that it: doesn't become the Christian 
te live in the past, Christians were never meant to simply I.-.ic/r, c-sakward and 

,V; ~"- ■ '** liv« ix, 'i>=s >:-?..•-;•;:, Cbx\&?J,'-vs.^ wzct, w:f : ::a';:. to li-~y-p: : i s high TCfUiP.xd ice tha 






past, of course fchsy ware. But at the same time thay must constantly remind 

themselves that there is a future, sad that they are fesisg drawn by the 
future. 

Mow all of this leads me to introduce to you the test for today's serasoa. 
Bat before I do that I want to tall you why It slates my soul. Every now and 
then when I read the Bible , I read it thsse days as though I had never read 
it before « It's a very salutary thing to do, because when yea have beea read- 
ing the Bible, for & number of decades, some of its truths, so pregnant with 
meaning, cssa become a bit dull because you've read -then before. It's only when 
you coma at is in a pristine sort of way that the words become as sharp as they 
were msaat to be. 

iJow I should also tell you this before I read the text -~ not waatiag to 
hold you in suspense* of course not — but I'm nuc&ered with a number of you 
who on occasion suffer from despair, disappointment and disillusionment ■— 
aonsstly I am. I have my moments when I have leaned very heavily up©n someone* 
oaly to discover that all that I had hoped for just didn't paxi out iti that indi- 
vidual, and I have bm<m. disappointed, 

I've bad ay moments when I've faced things idealistica.t.ly» sad then oaly 
to discover that disillusionment sets in. And the net result is one hour after 
anothsr, or sometimes — ask Winifred — maybe a My or two of desperation and 
despair. It doesn't happen very often, but when it deas, it takes i£s toll. 
And shea I bring myself up short ©ad rsqliae that ±t doesn't baccara the Chris- 
tian. And that's why I began to leap for jo?; when I discovered this text now 
that I'll mad far you- 

It was written by a man ssmgd John* who wrote three Letters « This is is 
tifrM ~ .' ' _ ■:■:;■ i . <■ *fc&£ l\e sro^;a. It's. ,ie *l;? '>■:& t&zpfyzz- v i?; v s 



-•:>,-: ■ ■".,■•.,■■:,• .' .■: 






"8y and «ffy. " say a Jobs, "dear friends^ wa,arc 
Gear' s children. What we shall be haa not yet 
bftca disclosed ri but we know that when ha appears 
we shall be Ilka him, "". . """" 

Well that's done something for mn - - "Hare end now s "! — we're God's children. 
"Hera end now" — w© eta claim a Father's blessing. "Hers end now" — we can 
b®gin to practice all that we oughfc to practice In Ilia name. 

One of the things I've discovered in my relationships with people ia that 
they either think in the past — that those ware the days when one* could really 
be a Christian, .... that those wsre the days when one could be a "iaat in the 

faith — you had a climate going for you, you tad a life-style that was con- 
ducive for you - - - those wars the halcyon days-, 

. . .or on Che other head 1 discovered that people make the mistake 
of thinking that only in some future day will be the possibility 
to practice the Christian faith. 
Well, I.**a not forgetting we ought to be drawn by the future, end I honestly 
believe that with God the best is always yet to come. I believe that. 

Why do I believe it? Because the past has proven it. "Hi© future way be 
different: from the past, but s$ far as God's concerned, He's fashioning the 
future, lie's always creating it. He's developing itJ For shame upon us — ■ 
honestly, for shame upon us, when we're inclined to think that God's great aces 
were always the acts that happened in the pas?:. 

There are some people who allow thesaselvss to believe that God ia other 
years did what Ha did and than He closed the book, and He said, "That's it.'" 
Why, even when X was in college I knew that was a lie. Shay told me, and there 
ware those who said God is like a watch-maker — with that master-mind of His 
'He designs the watch, He puts its parts together, He winds the watcfe s pats it 
on a sfeelf sad then walks away...... seas the jjofc' ; s fe..;^ I'.mK'c Al &..cxv> is 

to it - — • "I'm i£c V:;-. agl" why <sv«n then, at niaeteea years of age, t hs.m 



that wasn't true about God, that God never called it a day's work aad quite 
and walks away, as though every thing is finished now. Ha who created Is 
creating! His process is always going oa» For shoos i«.pon us when we im- 
prison Him in ebe past* With God we're always being drawn toward some better 
brighter day. Granted we have our health and strength, it's always going to 
be there- 

Quite parenthetically I say to you, dotj*t be afraid of growing older. 
Some people are afraid of It. Some people want so much to stay young •— you&g 
in spirit, that's one thing, but to close the chapter aad to think that no good 
thing lies ahead - - - we doss't hays & God like that! With God, there's always 
going to be good that's lyiag ahead! 

You*ve heard it frequently, of course you have, the tourist who came to 
Washington. ... the cabbie gets him as a fare. They take the high spots ~ - d© 
they go by the National Archives building?. ..and there he reads the words: 

the PAST IS PROLOGUE 

...•end hs says to the cabbie — 
(they're meant t© bs stuthoxities oa almost anything, you know) — "What d<e©s 
that nam?" And that cabbie wcs «;q»ai to it. Ma said, "It simply means, Man, 
you ain't seen no-thing y*tl M Aad maybe that's the way it is with God and us: 
we haven't seen it all. 

And with God, He exereiess & Mad of economy. Ho doesn't wsnt anything 
to fes wasted ,, and He's always fashioning out of the past seme be t t e r thisk for 
today md for tomorrow. I honestly believe that. 

But en the other hand — let me Ray It again — - there are some people who 
pnt off being good today becanss they say» "1 will wait until tomorrow. It 
will fca better then." Wall, that's what thrills ma about this tesst, John 
aays ? with a broad smile upon bis face, "Realise it! Think of it! It's abso— 



lutely aissfflKiagt Hero and now — toda y — - not tomorrow, and It wasn't just 
for yesterday's children - — bars and now wa can ba God 'a children!" 

There are seme of us who th?*nk Cod for Saint Luke Church. Let ms say it 
to you„ will you — there are sosse of m who thank God for Saint Lake Church 
because we've found within this congregation people who honestly believe that 
it's possible to fashion this congregation after the kfcd of church that Jesus 
Christ has in aind. And that's why they lova us as much as they do, and that's 
why they c are for ua as ouch as they do — right nowl They* re not saying, Wait 
until we grow older.,... they 're not saying, Wait until the situation changes 
and then we might be able to practice what God wants a church to be. But there 
are those of you who are sayiag: l ight no w lot's be the kind of a church that 
Jesus Christ wants a congregation to be — in the hare and the now*, 

It is possible ft© begin today to be the kind of person that God wants you 
to be — honestly! Do you mind my telling you this - she told it to ae her- 
self - - the example is, a woman who was troubled with a smoking habit* and 



she talked a great deal about quitting. ...and then one day she said. 






-..'.,'■ 



I'm going to quit!" And she did. She didn't wait until a year from now or 
six months from now. And when you v±alt. her in her home she'll -point with 
pride to $169 • 00 worth of curtains — ■ - it cskss out of Thelraa's envelope. 
For every time she was going to go and bay & pack of cigarettes, she put that 
money in the envelope, lime she's amased at what's happened to her, and she'll 
tell you herself: "Why didn't I do it earlier!" . . , the her© and tha now — 
it*s possible to begi n - today. 

I had an old friend who used to tell me this story. He'd delight in re- 
peating it and I ££?j ;-.;■.::■.' ■;'■ ■..- ; ,ug ■:>-■;;, :.: ..•r- J Mcc ■'-'■ ~&?:?t''i '.■•*"■'<;; 
it to you before.. «,«the chap who was driving down a country road and he came 
to on old codger and he said, "How do I get to such-and-such a plae©?' 1 And 
the ©id- timer proceeded to giv® hia directions:, and he said, "Well you g» down 



"la The Hare and In The Saw" f6) 

hare about three milsis, you ease to a covered bridge, you turn to the left, 
and you go for a taile-tiad-e-half, you come to an old oak tree, then you tars 
to the right and you go for another half-mile and you cone to a school houei . . " 
...and then he stopped abruptly, and he said, "You knew, 
If I were you and I wanted to get there, I wouldn't start 
from here." 
...but he happened to be where he was, you see, and the place happened to be 
where it was. And if he wanted to get there he had to besin from where he was. 
So It is with the practice of the Christian religion. One can begin where he 
is, and if ©n® can't begin to be a Christian where he is, chances are he can't 
begin to be a Christian anywhere else! 

I am happy occasionally when I hear people saying, "It was heavenly,," 
What do they wan when they say that? They mean that right now — today — 
they experience something that resembles Heaven. It's possible. So John says 
to those Christiass in his day who suffered a measure of despair: "Let's get 

it straight in the hare and now, todays we are God's children. We can 

live the way He wants us to live. It isn't something that begins then and 
there, after we die. It can begin, as the title for this sermon would have 
it: "In The Hare and In The Now ." 

And then there's something alee to this text that you ought not to ignore. 
Be says, "We don't know exactly what the future may be like . . " Well, none 
of us knows what the future may have in hand, but as Christians we know in 
whose hand the future is held. And that's something to ponder. 

And then there's something else that comas to us from this text, as you 
continue to read. He says: "We shall be like him." Do you know that the more 
we associate with certain people, the more we resemble them by their behavior 
pattern? Do you know that I can honestly tell you that since I have been with 
you for almost tract decades, I can easily distinguish sometimes that the youngster 






comes from a certain hoisss because lis las the facial characteristics, If not 
the pattern of behaviors, of his parents whom 1 kaswt It does happen. 

Now apply that to our Christian experience* The taora we practice the 
Christian behavior, the ajore s?e try to live Ilka Jesus Christ now, says John, 
the properly so, w&as Be appears we'll discover that etas itB&ga la a reflection 
. , .. ,. 

c. older people sometimes take out the family album, b&A 
all of a sudden they diseevar haw ma$h they look 1'Mte their 

I'm happy t© tell you that there are soma of y&u &h& have the manner of 
Jesus Christ — aot something reserved for you until later ©a* ffe.® stor®- 
hoase of halos that Jesus Christ keeps H« has ready fox distribution — today* 
Not Just after you g© through Heaven's gates. It can happen »©w« This is 03® 
of the truths about the Chris tiam religion — - extraordinary things can happen 
to ordinary peopi® - - plain ordinary people such as w® are. 1?® can begin nm? 
to liva as the children of God* 

But I know what happens when darkness settles is, we're afraid £0 do it. 
Xs it Bon Quixoe® fetaself , or is it hi® friend, who in the darks®®® of the 
night hangs frea the ledge of a window the greater past of efea night, only to 
discover when rooming comas that he's an inch away from the floor I Beloved, X 
say to you, sometimes y©u e r® only as inch sxs&y from the £±xu foundation which 
is Jesus Christ. Let yourself gof Sow! AaA trust Him. ......and discover the 

glow which (Sod wants to give yea — net tm. y&ars from now, but tglgXs. 



(fhis sarson transcribed as recorded) 



Ch * . flia King Sunday . . _ , t Hovanber 23, 3.975 

"HQg ITS OOaS TO BHD " 

GRACE, itecy and Peace from God 
our Father aad f rem Hie Sen .Jams* 
Christ » our Blessed ..Xflrd,., , ..Aaaa*.... 

When we first moved into oar littl* place aaid the hills of bote® it was 
little ©ore than a shell. Wis had decided to build it as & kind of a settest, 
sad yet at tha same tisja a long-term investment, that some rattraase::-: 
yaars of active retirement, it could still serve m a base of operation. 

Wo brok* ground, I shink it was in May, and we decided to live in it coats 
July. Aa you might readily understand, aurraisa, it waa somewhat unfinished. 
We had curtains where fche doors ware on the inside . . .when wa went to «atar tha 
house we had to cross by plank above a bad whare one &&y tha p«rcfa would be. 
So we lived in it. Astd then we eat for ouraelvsa a kiad of a schedule wh«r* 
aach year we'd have a project, until soma day it might he finally eomplated. 

We discovered, however, that occasionally we night have am a visitor or as 
a guest a master carpenter, and as he'd look areu&d invariably b& would pose & 
question -- a vary significant question: Jest how do you plan to finish this 
house? ..<«,.. for him it wasn't a question c£ whjra but how do you plan to f!ni«a 
it? 

fou see, with hi® eye he could sea cornet things that otherwise we might soft 
have paid attention to these matters. As a^a example, It would aaka a difference 
as to the width of the door jamb, h«cause ultimately would we alwply have painted 
cinder-block on tha iaaida? - - or would wa singly put a skis, coat o£ plaster on 
the cinders-block. ... or ywtsld we put up firring strips -?aad Share* plasterboard and 
then paint or paper or ,>anei? . . . . . all of these things., yen sea, ware important 
to she eye of the ia8stes*-carpo8ster, who when he looked at the house kapt ^hiakit-g 
in fcairias of the way it would look la the firaal analysis. 

Becauaa w© didu't always kasj* this in mind, even though we had a certain ©bjec 



■;. I .. t C ; , D i . I' 



£iv«, 30388 mistakes have baa® taada« and w« hava had to live wish these mistakes la 
' ';■■■•' "■v>.;^: : ; :".v , •'--.;.'",-,■ ■:>■■■:■• .:.-:■• ,:•,.%%<. .,,--,;> - : ^- :, -.. _-. . v;;- ; -.: s ;> o.. n : ; ;!■•:■ ■-,-• i.-,-. «:-.■., 

Why do I begin this sermon on this Christ Tha King Sunday la this way? 

Hall, fc<efora I giv* you the anewar 1st ass also tall you* if a man is going fcs 
accept as assignment to writa a biography, Joseph Woods says ha ought not to begin 
at the begloaiag of a man's Ufa. Ha ought aot to first concern himself with the 
circumstances of the man's birth, as to where ha was bora and under what condi- 
tions. But if he wsnts to writa sigaificantly about a man's life, ha ought to fee- 
gin with the way It ends! Ha ought to work from the back, then toward the beginning. 
That's what Joseph Woods says. Wall I'm about to suggest to yoa that nothing c«s> 
aver really be appreciated until It's aeea in its totality, or, if you please, the 
way it might ead ultimately. 

N<w these thoughts ara being triggered on tbi.c Christ The King Sunday fey the 
Gospel Lassos that was read. I don't know how closely you paid attention to that 
Gospel Lassoa. It's one of the great chapters la tha New Testament, and Matthew was 
bringing out all the changes and ringing all tha bells whan he cans to that 25th 
chapter of the book he was writing. 

With a sanctified imagination I try to think of how it was la the day of 
Matthew — he tras one of the disciples, you know. Ha never forgot it* Wherever 
he went ha did a great deal of talking about Jeaus Christ, his Lord and his Saviour. 
But a strange thing happened when he talked about Jesus Christ, and even when ho 
came to write his book — you may not be aware of this •— ha didn't spend much else 
upon th« early life of Christ, la fact, in all of tha Goapols — nor. all of the 
writers deal with tha birth of Christ in any way at all. At least one of them 
omits it completely I Matches* gives passing reference to it, but he spends meat of 
his time la his book, and I praaum* ia his conversation, talkiag about tha final 
three years in the life of. Christ. And when it came to the Gospel according to 
Matthew — would you believe thief — almost one-quartac, I think I cm say this, 



off She Gospel according So Matthew deals with bus cue weak, the Xast weak, ia the 
^.life of our Blessad tord. 

Because whan ptaopie would talk to Ji&tt&sw about J(S@«s s sh&y sight say Co hiss, 
This Jesus that you tall us about — do you taint He'll coma again? And than 
Matthew's face would light «p, almost like tha bulbs on a Christmas traa, he'd 
become effusive aad he'd become brilliant - - - "Cec* agaia? Of course He's using 
to coma again!" 

>.,.aad then £hs fellow va&y say to !&tthew, "Veil, whan do 
you think he's going to coma?" 
and Matthew in all honesty would say, "I don't ka**w. Ha - - ha newer told us exactly 
whan. Soma of us used to press Him on this question nod ask Him wh-sa it would be, 
and all we could get from Hits was that it was going to seas unexpectedly. Be even 
used a figure of speech, as I r«st*t*er, something shout *as a thief cones in tha 
lght» - - you never know when he might strike, Umb is Ha goiag to const I don't 
-know. But how is Ke going to cease?"- - - ah, then Matehsw becawe ecstatic, and he 
used that marvelous figure of apasch by which Dr. Hesse introduced tha Gospel Lesson 
for today - - - he esys, says Matthew: "He's going to come a* a Zing. £ a glorvi He's 
going to be surreoaded with a retinue of angels." 

This was in tho Gospel Treason today. Xt was Jjust read a little while ago — 
something as Marvelous as all that! Khan is He going to come? Don't know. Urn is 
Hs goiag to come? I'll tell you: aa & King in glory, wifch a retinue of angels. And 
He's going to be seated on & throne. Aad it's going to Iks Judgment Day. 

Well, what do you catch from that? Wall to begin with, you cen say to your- 
self, and quickly so, why that's the way it's going to aadJ That's the way this 
whole thiar : going to wind up — ace as the eyoic says, with & whinner, hot for 
Shristisn perspective- it's going to end with a bang! — triunphaatlv — majesti- 

:: ■> ' " Rlotiouslyl This God of ours, this Jesus Christ, i*a s e the defeated one. 

He'e going tc come back triumphantly, Aad Matthew knot telling people all about the 
way the thing \?m going to end. 



: - I , .-.'■■■ . . 

That's why I coma to this sacred desk this morning, to retaiad you s my friend, 
that you and I must keep saying to ourselves, this is the way it's really going to 
sad* Ua have oar moments, of course we d©» when we» suffer despair and disillusion" 
tasKt and we feel defeated. Hhy yon avaa heard aa say it from this desk — I get % 
strange kiesd of reaction sometimes when T go back aad read some of the things that 
1 aesid -*- honestly I do! And once some time ago I told you from this desk that 1 
honestly believed that the world was headed toward hell faster than it was headed 
toward heaven. 1 was brooding that day. 

Bat when X brooded I keep saying to myself I brooded as an optimist. That may 
maybe the pace now at which the world happens to be moving..... but on the other head 
I know that God never intended the world to go to hell — ~ everybody, God is the 
Redeemer, the one who somas to rescue and to save, to establish His Kingdom. T-Thy 
even long before Jesus Christ appeared on the scene, there was a prophet by the 
name of Esekial — that was the first Lesson that was read today — in which it was 
being declared that no matter hot? wicked the world was, God would haver wash His 
ha?sds of ic completely r God will come back eves if Ha has to coma back Himself a&d 
wind the thing up and set it straight — ■ 

"Behold? I, even I, says the Lord of hosts, I will come « . , " 
, «„, that's the way Ezekiel put ic 

So 1 come to this sacred desk this morning, on this Christ the King Sunday, 
to remind you that that's the title that ttaloaga to him - - ha eciaea as king, 
with His Kingdom that He's ?,oing to establish, and it* 3 going tc «ssd that way..,. 
<...,not with a whimper — don't believe the cynic. It's going to end with a 
bang i This is the kind of a Lord we have. This is the kind of a <kd who claims 
us. This is the God who £M,ys, "You don't have to go to hell, 1 won't let you go 
to hell, 1*11 come and establish my Kingdom in your midst." 
— With ail the inecuvaaience that wa had ir* that little place sudd the hills 
of home, suasasr after summsr, it was like watching the calendar — always by the 



"He \_ \ e ;. . £n i to tod" (5) 

15th of October — (it was a reiserabla j©l», really it was) — there was a 
tiny bit of & crawl hoi* that ^a bad in tha boys' fessdroom, and I'd lift up 
that space Just enough to allow in© to go 4@*m through it, get into the crawl 
space underneath tha boose , drain the water, dip tha water out la a dipper — 
messy, cold, chilly . . . we ^<mt through it, fell after fall, iE«oav«ssie»e«d 
as wa ware, because wa kept thinking of the way it was going to sndl It 
gave us courage. We «adur«d it, because we never lost sight of the way it 
was going to end* And that, I suggest to you, is dM kind of thing that 
you and I must have in mind in this world which smacks of so ssuch of iaper- 
fectlon ami eo ranch wickedness - - the way it* a meant to and by the triumphant 
touch of God himself. 

This cm do two things for ue, I chink, It can giva us an indomitable 
faith, as long «s wa think that tha ultimate purposes of God will prevail, as 
long as we can believe that God will always have tha last word - don't ever 
forgot iti M& chat enables us to go ctt to the aaaatiaa liwiag erioBpaantly — 
• ■ ■■■■■ ': ■"■ ' ■ -i- ••'.■■ •■ ■■; .■•:■.•/:; :■■■'., 

days gone by, in tha tine of tha ancients, paronta chose mamas for their 
children very carefully? Shey didn't choose them recklessly or casually, 
Ubsn « mother named her daughter Keren , she named her daughter Karen booonoe 
•bo knew the aaae meant pure, and she honestly hoped and believed that m that 
daughter would grow and develop, aha would eventually bacon* that kind of 

..... .when & mother or a father named thair ®&& Richard, was 

it not simply to imply that as that young man grew and devoloped 
he sight grew into the fci&d of character that was lionheorted and 
ceuragaouoY ...and he might never forget whet ha was meant to bo, 
now tha thing wa© going to end? Aad in tha meantime then, you see, 



' " .."■■';' - " ' V^ 



j&a s«a <£adu?@ a l»t» ** long es you never less sight off the ultimate objec- 
tivs. $hea you see It is its totality, you have courage to go e&* when you 
know it* a going to esad triumphantly. 

That's why soma people, not all of ahem - - that's why soma people when 
they're told Shay have something that's incurable, do soraethiag more Chan face 
it la stock fashion- By the grace of God fthey knew they can andura it beeaus© 
ultimately there's going to ha a Mm KmV* free ffroa paiss and dlesasa, and 
that evse tha suffering is a part of the total plan. 

Ths sacond thing that I can tail you. la this: that when you think in terms 
of tha totality, tha little almost insignificant deado of love and compassion 
taka in a whola now dimension. 2a this chapter that was read for you today 
as tha 25th chapter of Matthew, it begins with: "Then shall coma tha King in 
his glory * . . "...„<. .and he talks about Judgment t tad then what doas tha 
chapter dael with? - - Jesus is talking about, as Matthew remembers * a man 
who was in prison, and somsfeo<£y went to visit hia* *••.*•« rasa who was sslck 
sad somebody want to call on Ms. ,. * . . . . ,a parson who was ill-clad,, and mos* 
body took hist xoaa clothing. Jesus says, "These are the things that era ta- 
per tact ia the meanwhile — busy yourself doing these things "~~ it's withi& 
the grasp off everyone. Anyone can qualify for tha final Judgment. 

. „,„yau don't have to be a preacher, you 
don't have to have so-called distinguished 
talents. Anyone — ayervopa is capable off 
visiting the sick. ..sharing clothing.... being 
concerned about the imprisoned..,,,, 
1 know what you're thinking. In a world that smacks of S3 etaeh wicked- 
ness as ours,, we* re prona to despair aad «ay, what's? the good of £tf There's 
a novel, ise*t there, celled "Stowaway" - - and la that novel tiiere's & charactes 



te How tjL'i m k>ia« To End" (?) 

by the aaaae of Q*Hara. The chap is &t sm, and Cod bless hlK, fee's iposseaeed 
by & nsbia impulse, and all of a suddoss h* decides that whatever rassains of 
his lifa» he's going to stake tha moat of it, the?.* aal them! Ho cells this 
Co a buddy of his, and his buddy ridicules hia - - "What's eh® u«s& ©f being 
good? What's the um of baiag kSaat" O'Hara say* eo his buddy, "Sure, 1 nay 
b© surrounded by all of Shis, tat I know ose thine; - - M laag a® I Um, p.© 
taatter where I sm s the world is going to get the best cf m. X*a soinf, to 
give if all that 1 have. I don p t know for how long, but m long as I'm arous** 
it's going to get the base,/' 

Well, you can afford to talk like that whan you know that la the hsaso 
of Cod nothing is war lost, and in the final analysis, Love triuaphs, tor 
the King in Bis glory who returns is the King of Love. 

.>«..t&ie Z taoat certainly believe. 



C-&:u; ;■'•■■•',■■••-■;••■••. \;?.^ -.-,'>,;.r:i ■:■■■;. " >:/; •• -:c-.c'.'^::;, 



Coamiuaioa Hsditatiaa - Faster Kayaosd Shshaan 



• 



IF Xl'S TDSSBa? H J? v: ;;^ BE BBLGUM" 



- 



. . ., whan hsgan 89 edniatry 1 haa shift good fortuna t© taka sawar&i 
packsgs tours to Sys-cps^ sawnral as the #v^m< v^ v .-;;-, : i ---,a, ?;s sea 4k:-v.j :> x 
sasly diaeovarad mm efa£;3 s that p-aopls would g«t most out «£ ths toot If 
aayba day by d*»y yow sat thorn do^, aad than said en thorn, ' ? Thia is whsrs 
ws haws boon -~" did you raally saa What w® wara supposed to haws sawn?" 

Ongs wo h&d ■ gsrmip of t£Nraty~&aa» sad it was osceedingiy intarasting 
£c disaovafr what 9owa psspla s«v slsat other paopla did not mmi* and also, of 
eot».g«® s as yea aright aumlae, what soks pe*jpl# aaw with granta? iatsaalty, 
othar people ssff £b a voary snsnal way* 

I suggast to yaw that Ufa is Ilka a jouraay.. It* a aot sxaetly <* pa&kaga 
tour* because asah of uo doos mot travel la fete aaase way. Hopafull? wa all 
hary® the earns ultimato doatlaatiott, but tfoa itinsrary eould vasy froa parson 
to parson. But as X ee»a to tblt sssrnd dmk this atoraing. X &sfe yoa, did 
is «v«sr oeemr to ym that «ss& ess*, w&aw out coming togathar on a Sunday aiorniag 
as a group of fallow pilgr2»© sl©sg lifo'a way, who sit down *&d raflacfc upon 

distant® wa'if« airaady covarad, npea ths jouraay that 'a yot to unfold. 

raaybe ©a® of tb« raapensibilitles that sraata up«;m ths maa who stasads at 
tho palpi t is to ba a kind of iatarprataar,, & klad of avaluat&r of what waa'wa 
aaspariaaead thus far, and to givs you sss&a tasta* by tho graca oi fesd, as to 
what it is that lias ahaod «»« wo s««^ to jooraoy's aad* 

I one® feaew » pastor vsh© said that b« digaoveved a wholo now world of 
ralatioasMp with his ^mplv whan oa oceasica ha*d h«v@ ■■v--- ^ ,s m^Ki Ki 
Sljisa la ia-d«ptb coiwaisrsaeiisa^ fes'd sarptrlaa ^iiern by saying: "What aew thiags 
did you saa today? - -• What *sm diseovary did you makaf" G&& Is always sar~ 
rouadiag u® wit;.i baaotiful etd lowaly a»d gra sad good things...... "Bar th 






■' ■ I ...:.: Sffi -:..-: t '---' -. " '■■ 

crowned <sdth heaven, and every cosmoa bush afire with God; 

But only that stea who sasas takes of f his shoes 
and worships * . . th* r«et»" 
•aid the peafci, 
'" . . . sis around and «at blad&arriaa." 
As you jo«E®®y through Htm, what jastf diacovery have you made? fthat new 
thing have you aeent 

I keep aa&itag Cksd to kaap na aanatally alert sad physically strong, sad 
to grant «$ the gift of a f«w ■»©?« yaara. I do net consider myself old, oat 
I*d like as live a longer period of slum, if <sssly fosr the sisspla reason., to 
discover mm some of the «s:e«edingiy precioue things that God has ptzt in this 

m frequently m vm*& life*, we basd fear the hills of hose, 200 miles due north 
frota hare, in aorta central Pennsylvania* And when I aade «&«£ trip this paat 

»yws*g — wotaid you bmliavs *bg when I tail. ye« this — that 1 discovered soae~ 
thing that van always there, buR 1 discovered t\vm all over again — tiger 
lilies by the aide of the road. they'd b* by the old canal branch, ttey 5 *! 
ba in als»at ustesspeeted places « a cluster here and a duster thare? ad ding a 
graeieus touch. Par sswaaty years now I have been asafciag that trip- fro* Silver 
Spring to Wiiliaasport, Pennsylvania. They hiw« been thara all these years. 
Sat it was only this ausaaser that I disewversd thaa all over again. 

You raeognisa £h« saoral in thie story, don't you! 8a aany things (Sod has 
.-'■<■•;'-■-' ?(■■■■<■■■■■■■'■ y ^ Vrti :--y.--y ■-...■: r ■-- ■:■:-.' ■':':■:: ^:\ v> :■';.• " ' ., &,'::., : ;kx:Mn" r: ;'": fc;» 
* thing; of jodgaattt if in the mmmz of death Christ gave us ass instant replay 
of all the places where wb had been throughout; our years, of all ska things 
ffia'd surrounded as with, sad then* through His ©yeo wa could mem what we Aftdajjl 
see. sad all the things that ho nj ised, for the ffi©Kiia£ 1 can't think of any 






arr&sagaaent of jadgasaat as frighsaaiag as that. 

Th® old Javlah rabbi used to ha<?a a saying that in tha tisao of judgment, 
tha atsm&l God would hold us responsible §or «S2fvJ©x *- sa£ wa deaiad ow*« 
salvaa, that wo pasasd by* £fe©& wa failed to sppsraeiate. 

There's a text for today* a taaditatloa, !**• fees th* Goepel accerdleg to 
John, the first ehapter, the 2S«h ▼ar*«« 

"There stands one asaong you whoa you do sat knew * . , rt 
..*«a free translation would bat "Sou are oiasiag seaac&a who is •?&&$ near you." 
That person was Jaaus Chriat., and Ha was thaz®, sad (Sod put Kim dowsss rig&fe to 
the raMsf: of these people. There's a Isaeatable thing that eons* out of aha 
Old Testaaont, ah® laissat ie Chios "X® it nothing to you, .all y« who paaa byt" 
God performing foy us the redenptiva deed, and paopla paaa by and naves: sea i<; a 
Don't allow yourself te be atadborad with thm® «b* at the tiaa ©£ fch® birth of 
Jssus Christ ?awar knew H« was there, never saw Ilia. 

Mi® ia a Jourasy f and X suggest to y©u that Sa God* a rousing of your Ufa, 
all reads leed to Sethiehaa, and at ©ss© tiaa or another you Ml find yourself in 
Bathlahen, spiritually speaking. But not liko Boxed the Kiag, bat not lite the 
tea-keeper, feat not Ilka tha ssasa givsa to frivolities. X*® glad va abeerve 
Advent. Advent gives us four weaks la which to do our spiritual tHnHmg early, 
in which to make ready for Hiss, to aake certain that we don't Klea Hiau 

Bach new day is a gift froa God, another chance to as®* &am naw thing, 
or to xa-diacevasr aoaatliiag old. As tha spiritual bishop and shepherd of your 
•oula, lot's take she road that leads to 3&thlab*tt..,,..«Ed aa your spiritual 
tour director, iat tm tall you In advanea •- - look £or aim J Don't ssl^s Hiss! 

* * 

(Thia sersaon tranaeribad aa raoordad) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Second Sunday in Advent Decembe r 7, 197 5 



"SIGHS OF HOPE" 
(Isaiah 1:9) 

GOD, we have so little time to do 
this sort of thing, to give some 
Erasure of undivided attention to the 
preaching of Your Word. That we should 
sake the most of it, give us now the 
blessing of Your Hol y Spirit. Amen. 

My heart gp*a out constantly to the artist, be he a painter, a writer, 
a singer, or a dramatic performer, who is forever at the mercy of his critics. 
Critics, you know, car? ranter such cutting rematks that become wellnigh ruin- 
ous. How Ion;; do you think • play on 3roadwey, review-ad in this manner, would 
last ~ --- for this is the way the critic appraised it. I'll give you only his 
opening sentence : 'I vifiWfed it from a disadvantageous position* I was facing 
the stage. " 

I suggest to you as I come to this sacred desk this morning that there 
are some people who look that way upon life, which is the drama-of-all-draraas. 
Inescapably tltey have to face it. Anrf as one. act unfolds after another, they 
have little reason to believe that it could improve. They brand it a rather 
hopeless situation. 

Occasionally when I have devotions in the Chapel of the Grateful Heart 
during the week I find myself coining perhaps fresh from having made hospital 
calls or visiting with somebody who's just gotten a report from a surgeon or 
a physician, ana I have been given to understand that the outlook is not very 
promising. And then. I find myself offering a prayer such as this, and the 
words do not come easily to ray lips because they rest heavily upon my heart: 
H God, strengthen those whose physical condition will continue to deteriorate." 

It was a long-distance call that I received from the Secretary of the 
Office of the President of the Lutheran Church in America. I was privileged 



"Signs of Hope'' (2) 

to be among those who knew him not only as the President and the Bishop of the 
Church but also as a friend. Back in 196-S Dr. Franklin Clark Fry was scheduled 
to come to Saint Luke Church to conduct an Ordination Service for two of our 
ministerial sons. Graciously he had consented to come, but little did he 
realize that Cod would have other plans for him. For about ten days — I 
think that was the time, before he was to have been here s he was stricken ill. 
And when his Secretary talked with rae from the Sew York office, while I could 
not see the tears in her face I could feel then in her heart. She simply said, 
"The outlook is not good.'' And a whole brand new chapter 1ft history for the 
Lutheran Church in America began to be written from that very point. 

Sat I'm also concerned this morning nor only by physical deterioration — 
I'm also concerned witn spiritual deterioration, emotional deterioration, psy- 
chological deterioration, where things get. for want of a better term, pro- 
gressively worse. 

You know by this time that frequently when I come to this sacred desk I 
share with you my lament for the kind of a world in which we happen to live . 

But having reached tae point in life that I have, I label myself (man can 

afford to do that after several decades have run their course) - - and quite 
realistically I call myself one who does brood. But then I happen to remember 
that I am also a Christian, so I've become a "brooding optimist.' 1 

I look back upon the past and I realize that we build the future and we 
fashion the present with the past. And the immediate past hasn't been too 
salutary. We really aon't have raucn of an exemplary record. Small wonder, then, 
that I should brood as I think of the world in which Lester dinger's grandsons 
will grow up. 

But if one is to be a Christian he has to be very careful how ha uses 
that word hopeless in his vocabulary. The title for today's sermon is '-'Signs 

of Hope." Relax, my friend, a bit. It's meant to be an encouragement and 

the text is from the prophecy of Isaiah, the 9th verse of the very first chapter. 



"Signs of Hope" (3) 

Isaiah was a prophet who lived centuries before the day of Jesus Christ, and 
you've got to remember now that prophets were a peculiar breed of people. They 
rejoiced when people grieved .... and they grieved when people rejoiced! They 
had a way of looking for the eternal dimension, and their judgments quite 
frequently were counter to what were being offered. 

It was not a very happy day in the life of Israel, the nation to whom 
Isaiah was related. In fact they had come upon very difficult time. The 
Assyrians had done them in! They suffered from assault from without, and be- 
cause they had forgotten the covenant of the Lord, they suffered from deterio- 
ration within. In the dark and dismal day Isaiah stands up and says, "If the 
Lord of Hosts had not left us a reB»u*rat#i.we should soon have been like Sodom 
and no better than Gomorrah." . . . bad as the situation is, says Isaiah, 
there's still cause for hope, for God has left us with a remnant. 

I smile broadly to myself, as undoubtedly you would have done yesterday 
.... I went shopping early in the morning and got therebbef ore the shopkeeper ar- 
rived, and so I stayed in the car waiting until he would come. And then, lo and 
behold, someone drove in ahead of me and parked in the space beyond me. I sup- 
pose if I were to have dubbed the vehicle, I would have had a name for it — 
"Hardly Able' for it just hardly was able to make the spot. It was a dilapi- 
dated old station wagon, that's what it was, and I thought to myself, using far- 
mer's language, "You look as though you'd been held together by a binder's twine. 
And then my eye fell upon a bumper sticker, on the back door of the station wagon, 

and I could hardly believe ray eyes "GOD'S IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING." And my 

first reaction was, evidently God hadn't done a very good job on that station 
wagon ! 

And quickly I regained my senses, and I said, bless that chap! a soul! He 
has indominantable courage, because as miserable as his plight is, he must have 
some reason to believe that God's going to get him out of it. 



"Signs of Hope" (4) 

I suggest to you that maybe life is like a dilapidated old station wagon. 
And as we think about it, maybe we won't quite get the next mile down the road, 
but we have reason to believe that come wind or weather, God has a way of 
saving the day, and saving us. And Advent, my friend, is the season of hope. 
And in Advent we anticipate. We anticipate God breaking through — God invading 

the world God making His personal appearance. That's what a Christian dare 

never forget. God's always looking for some kind of a handle God's always 

looking for one person, perhaps, who might hold in his hand a candle. God always 
has a remnant with which He can begin. This is what it is for the Christian to 

read history God has never allowed Himself to be without witness. God has 

been able to deal with any situation creatively. This is what you and I have to 
remember ! 

I'm ashamed of myself when I read too much the report of the economist, 
when I read too much and too long the report of the political scientist. You see, 
they have a way of explaining the phenomena of our day. And if I don't exercise 
some, caution when I read their analyses, I level for a flat view of history, and 
I can become distraught, and disappointed, and disillusioned, and suffer nothing 
bus despair. But as a Christian, when I read history through the corrective 
lenses of God, I find rays of hope. 

Back in 1969 There was a Conference on Liturgies that was conducted in 
the city of Milwaukee. Now what in the world are liturgies? You know what 
liturgies are — it is, what shall I say> the finest of the worship order — 
people study about the kind of worship experience we ought to allow people to 
become engaged in.... the hymns we sing, the Scripture we read, the anthems we 
write and choose. Well would you believe it, this conference on liturgies said 
if we're to put the eternal finger upon the pulsebeat of man, we ought to do 
something noble. And lo and behold, for their agenda one afternoon they had 
no committee reports, there were no papers read, but rather they turned loose 



"Signs o f Hope" (5) 

all 200 delegates into the streets of Milwaukee and said, "You walk the streets 
of Milwaukee now for two hours, and then you come back and bring to us whatever 
s^ns^pfjione you've encountered in the people that you've met or the situations 
you've experienced." 

if I were to turn you loose for a week in the 

area in which you iither live or work, and asked you to look for 
signs of hope, would you really come back with some kind of a 
formidable report, or would your page be blank? 

We have our moments when we're inclined to think that we might come back with 

a blank page. 

Yet whan you and I cosne back to this place Sunday after Sunday we're con- 
strained to deal with rays of hope, and that's why I'm happy to tell you, when 
you anticipate Christmas story, think of the signs of hope that loom on the 
horizon. It was a wicked world in which Jesus was born, make no mistake about 
it 

....and yet God was able to put His finger upon a bunch of shepherds — 
not very many! — a handful, and they responded to the 
vision. They happened to believe that He was up to some- 
thing,, and they tried to find out what it was. . .that's hopeful! 
— when God can find some people, limited in number, who are 
still trying to find out what He's up to.... 

....God looked for a woman, pure, chaste — let me use the word: He 

looked for a virgin. And He found one. Do I have to say it — 
that's hopeful. And God's still finding them! They're still 
around. Presumably that age had its infidelity. 

....God tried to find a man who would be faithful to a woman. He found 

one! His name was Joseph. That's hopeful! There are men like 
that still around, and there are children who can still grow up as 
Jesus did in that home in Hazareth, surrounded with love and 



"Signs or nope" (6) 

affection and whose parents set before them good and 

holy examples ..not as many as we'd like — surely 

not as many as we'd like! 3ut they're still around. 
That's hopeful. 

And the thing that pleases me most is this I could walk the aisle 

of this place right now and look any of you straight in the eye, and I could 
say to you, I dare say, "You give the rest of us cause for hope, because God 

has a handle ou you He's working in you and through you." 

we hadn't better forget it. 

* ft & 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Third Sunday in Advent December 14, 1975 

"RETURN ENGAGEMENT" 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God our 
Father and from His Son Jesus Christ, 
ouv Blessed Lord. Amen. 



It could happen this year, you know. It's been some time since we have 
been snow-bound for a day or so, and if it should happen, what will you do when 
you're confined within your own home — you can't get to your meeting, you can't 
get to the place where yoxi ought to be at work? 

....well maybe you'll play some of the recordings that 
you have been wanting to play for a long time and never got around 

to it 

.... or maybe you might wish to reach for a book — you 
have wanted to read it, you know. It could be the night 
when you could get your way through the greater part of it ... . 
How it may be with you I don't know, but for myself I'm inclined to think that 
if such luxury could occur of having such time available, I'd like to re-cata- 
logue some of the transparencies that I've taken across the years. There they 
are, tucked away. I haven't looked at them for some time, but I'd like to go 
through them again, with Winifred's help, and put them in categories, and I'd 
have one category called: "GREAT PERSONALITIES" 

- - I did have the good fortune to get a good photograph 
of King Hussein of Jordan. . . 

- - there's another one, I think it turned out quite well, 
of Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia.... 

not quite as good, there's one of King Hahendra, of 

that tiny kingdom of Nepal, north of India, seated upon an 
elephant on a festive occasion 



"Return Engagement" (2) 

I cherish the one of Bishop Ordass of Hungary, of 

Bishop Hans Lilja, of Martin Niemoller 

But I won't be satisfied until I can put my fingers on the one of the man with 
the shaggy white hair, the turtleneck sweater, the baggy trousers, the sandled 

feet Albert Einstein. I got a good photograph at some distance when le was 

walking across the campus at Princeton, heading for his modest clapboard house, 
I particularly want that one because not long after I took it I remember reading 
about him. 

He had been in attendance at a rather significant meeting I can't 

think of any meeting that he would attend that wouldn't be significant. The 
presiding officer exploited the occasion, and having spotted Albert Einstein in 
the audience he said something to this effect: "I'm delighted to be able to 
announce to you that the distinguished professor, Dr. Einstein, is with us. 
Dr. Einstein, I'm wondering if you xrould be willing to come to the podium and 
say a few words?' There was an awkward pause. With seeming reluctance he stood, 
moved slowly to the podium, surveyed the audience, and then to the surprise and 
surely to the chagrin of the presiding officer, he said, ,! I really don't have 
anything to say. But maybe if you'd invite me to come back again some other 
time, I might be able to make a few remarks then.' 1 

Unlike Albert Einstein, there was an itinerant carpenter's son, a couple 
of thousand years ago, who went hither and yon just because He had something to 
say. And He would say what He wanted to say, whether He was invited or not. He 
exploited in the name of God every opportunity, and He made the opportunity if 
it wasn't extended to Him. He made a pulpit out of a boat.... He made a pulpit 
out of a hilltop... .He made a pulpit as He sat by the side of a well and talked 
with a distraught woman. He was forever talking, giving people unforgettable 
pictures of God, proclaiming the truth of God's love and mercy. But at 33 years 
of age they cut Him down, they silenced Kim, they said, "We've had enough of 



"Return Enga gement " (3) 

this We'll hear you no longer." But God be praised, just because He happens 

to be God, this itinerant preacher who always had something to say so perfectly 

and completely said, "I'm scheduling for myself a return engagement I'm 

going to come back!" 

I want to talk to you this morning about this return engagement. In fact, 
that's the title for today's sermon, the Third Sunday in Advent. Basically what 
I'm going to say, to share with you now has to do with the Second Coming. The 
text of course, from the Book of the Revelation, the last chapter, maybe the last 
verse. John the mystic, confined to the Isle of Patmos, is carried away as he 
gets one revelation after another, and this one crowns them all. He hears Jesus 

Christ saying to him, !: I am coming soon." and John responds and says, "Come, 

Lord Jesus. 15 

What do you know about the Second Coming? 

Maybe not very much! And maybe that's why I have to hurry on immediately 
to tell you maybe that's one reason why you may not think very much about it. 
There are a lot of people, you see, who 3hy away from thinking about the Second 
Coming. We just don't know too much about it. Ana just interestingly enough, 
Jesus Christ kept talking about the fact that He was going to have a return 

engagement • He would, come back. But human as we are, we shy away from 

things that are a littlb bit indefinite. You see, we don't know exactly when. 
And most of us would like to know the precise time. 

It's also a bit vague because we don't know how He's going to come back. 
We have all kinds of imagery - - we have a number of different ways of trying 
to picture it. But specifically, we don't know how He's going to come back, and 
we don't know when. 

Some folks get some fancy notions, they get carried away with it. Not 
very many, but some do. Didn't I read about ten days ago that there was a 
bunch of Christians gathered themselves together at a particular place. They 
had marked the calendar with a big X they were watching the clock. They had 



"Ret urn En gag ement " (4) 

it all figured out - - at a precise time and a particular place He was going 
to come again. But He didn't. Thay were left there, in their idleness. He 
didn't show up. But according to their time-table, He was supposed to. So 
some of us shy away from this whole business of thinking about the Second 
Coming because Christ did say, you know, that not even the angels in Heaven 
are privy to the information as to when the return engagement takes place. 

Well maybe that's one reason why you haven't done much thinking about 
the Second Coming - - you like to think precisely, you like to think specifi- 
cally, and when it comes to the Second Coming, you're a bit stimied. 

I'd like to suggest another reason why some of us don E t much think about 
the Second Coming. We're uncomfortable because we're afraieL Nobody likes to 
be caught off-guard, and nobody in the time of Judgment — use the phrase — 
cherishes the taought of being found wanting. Why I should say to you quite 
parenthetically, I have been annoyed sometimes when some of you good Lutherans 
coma to me and say, "'Pastor, do we Lutherans believe in the Second Coming?" 
Why of course we believe in the Second Coming! - - and every time we come to- 
gether to worship we stand on our feet and we recite the Creed in which we 

say "Ha will come again" and we Lutherans are numbered among those who make 

much of our tradition. We have the Church Year, and wa take four particular 
Sundays, we call them Advent. And you know, of course , the word comes from 
the Latin which means coming - - in which we strike the theme, in our music, 
in our prayers, In our Scripture, in our sermons - - He is coming again. 

But we don't do as much real honest-to-goodness thinking about it as 
we should, because some of us become a bit uncomfortable and we shy away from 
the concept that when He comes again He's going to judge us. 

Of course we remember, when we were kids growing up - - wasnja that one 
of the basic pictures they gave us of God? - - with that great big book in 
front of Him, keeping the score ona saction of the book divided into the 



' ' Return Engagement " (5 ) 

good things that we did..... the other part of the book devoted to the bad things 
that we did? And if that concept should linger in the recesses of our minds, 
we're uncomfortable at the thought of Judgment because some of us have lived 
long enough to know that no matter how nobly intentioned we are, we never come 
off quite as good as we'd like to do. The record leaves a lot to be desired. 

And then we have to be honest with ourselves, some of us know full well 
that even some of the good that we do, no matter how impressive the record, 
it's done from selfish reasons. We enjoy it so much. And we enjoy the recog- 
nition that comas from being classified as a 'good 'person, well, we shy away 
from it because in our sober moments we can be a guilt-ridden lot. 

George Buttrick used to tall aoout the man who was away fonm home some 
time on business. And while he was in the big city, he committed, as it's very 
easy to commit, an act or two of indiscretion. Whatever the sin, well he had 
done it. The time came for hia to head back home. And each step that he took 
tox^ard the train, and each minute that ha 3pent on that train, as ha was heading 
home, caused him a great deal of vexation, and he was uneasy and uncomfortable. 

.....about 20 miles from home the conductor came on the coach 
where he was and announced his name. There was somebody aboard 

the train now who was looking for him 

The guilt was heavy to bear, and he almost panicked, and particularly so when 
the conductor said, "Your wife got on this train at the last station." And then 
the conductor 'went on to say, "Your wife and your son Iiave missed you so much, 
they thought they'd surprise you, and out of sheer love they've gotten aboard 
the train to welcome you home, and to ride with you the remaining 20 miles." 
...... Someone was coming to meet him - - out of sheer love. And the anticipation 

now was almost destroyed because he was guilt-ridden. 

Someone who lovec us is coming our way. God's Son is returning. He's 
heading in our direction, just because He loves us. He knows we're guilt-ridden, 



" Return Engagemen t" (6) 

He knows we haven't behaved the way we should have behaved. But that isn't going 
to stop Eim from coming. There's a three-word definition for God - - don't ever 

forget it: Go d is love. and love can never be separated from the one 

whom he loves. 

...And if I didn't believe in a Second Coming for any other reason, I'd be 

willing to believe in it for that 

now you think about that for a little while. And I'm convinced that the 

quality of our life fa the present moment is determined by what we anticipate 
tomorrow , 

Evin so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

* * ft 



(Transcribed as recorded) 



- 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

The Fourth Sunday In Adv ent Decaaber 21 t 197 5 , 

"A BIET FOR TH E SOUL" 
(Proverbs 15:17) 

(introductory sentences not on tape) 

. „ . cook book. As a matter of in-house informations you may be inter- 
ested in knowing that when Thoiaa Petersen and Mildred Whiting first came to 
me to discuss the idea of a cook book in Saint Luke Church, I naturally gave 
it my support. But when they came to me and told me that they were planning 
to place an initial order for a thousand copies, I dampened their enthusiasm, 
I said, you'd better think in terms of hundreds •— several hundreds , ±a fact, 
until the people get a chance to see it. Would yon believe me if I were to 
tell you that they could now go into their fourth printing! So 1 say to Thoma 
and to Mildred, they can better trust my preaching from the Gospel than advice 
given to them on the marketing of cook books. 

And I suppose that any number of you will be reaching for that cook book 
as you anticipate the Christmas festivities. The cook book here at Saint Luke 
will be getting its first try-out over the Christmas holiday in a very real 
way, and you will be thumbing its pages and become excited about this recipe 
or that recipe , particularly so because it's Christmas. X don't know of any 
meal in the course of the year that engenders quite as much excitement as the 
Christmas dinner. 

You will be making all kind of preparation for it, and well you should,. 
And I suppose the more affluent we become, and the mora sophisticated, the 
better we want our food prepared. And in all likelihood , with the touch of 
the gourmet, 'Chare will be no end to the preparation that we will ba making 
for the meals that we will be serving. 

Mow the title for today's sermon: "A Diet For The Soul." The text - - 



_ 



■< For Tha SoaT (2) 

wall before X read it for you I'd better tell you that It's tucked away in 
ehat interesting book la the Old Testament of pithy sayings — yoi?*re right, 
it's the Book of Proverbs. How long has it been since you've turned to it? 

....and like as not whoa I announce tha text, sqjs® of you may be heating it 

for the very first timo, X won't read it for you in the old translation — 

it's far more understandable and makes its impact itsssediataly as you hear it 

the way the recent translators have put it. Well, this is the ©ay the 17th 

verse of the 15th chapter of the Book of Proverbs reads: 

"It i s better to ea t; vegetables with people 
you lov e than to eat the fi nest meat where 
there is hats." 

Why, do you suppose, I'm prompted to speak to you ss this text today? 

As you anticipate the Christmas dinner soae of you will be inviting people 

that you haven't invited at other times of the y«aar. Let me speak quite 

frankly now — and every bit the human being that I am aad quit® realistically 

you've put off inviting some people, perhaps, in tfaa courses of the year, Jnefc 

because you can't tolerate them otherwise. But Christmas comes but ©nee a 

year, so in the spirit of Christmas you'll do it.*.... 

a ».the parson whose raucous laughter just irritates you, but 

beeauss you feel obligated you'll Invite them.... 

...the folks whss have the unruly children — hew you wish you 

could discipline them, and they'll try your patience — 

bat it's Christmas 3 you'll incite them..... 

...the chap who when he sits down, wherever he may bs s begins 

to pontificate < -and otherwise you can't eoXsrafcg that kind 

of person, but it's Christmas — you'll issvit© that parson 

to your disaamr * ...... 

...or take the person who saszsa to be a self-appointed chairmaa at 

all messing® that he happens to attend , and while yens wouldn't 



- 



care to tolerate htm otherwise, you will because it's Christmas. 
Is £has a real reading of life? Maybe it doeaa'e apply in year case. But I 
•can think of some cases t© which it would apply t and as one who has coma from 
a rather large family* I know something of the tensions that eaa arise when 
you sit down to break breed with paeple thet more or less you find yourself 



He was a wise man wh«* said to me some years ago! "It isn't so much the 
food that you eat — it's the people with whom you eat it» asd the kind of 
spirit that prevails while you break bread together." So Vt& suggesting that 
you give a due and proper heed to the diet of the soul, the kied ©£ good will 
and precious fellowship you'll engender as you break bread together — far 
more important than the food that we eat is the conversation w® share and the 
fellowship that we engender. This I most certainly believe. 

Significantly enough , one of the things I did last evening as I put eh© 
final touches to this sermon was to reach for the cook book, Mm I thumbed 
it® pages and I found a lot ©£ interesting information la it that some of 
you ihpy has?® yet to discover. Would you believe it that there is a page is 
this book, and 1 predict perhaps the least-read of ell the pages in the book-— 
somebody inserted* where to find eertaia Scripture passages — food for the 
soul, you see. 

Then as 1 went through the book X case® upon a most interesting recipe* 
I was intrigued by the title — Eteaey Hay submitted it. It's called Scripture 
Cake. ...and then do&n on the left-hand side it lists all the Ingredients that 
you'll reaeh for in the pantry is order to make that cake... and then on the 
opposite side It gtoes a list of all the Scriptural passages related to those 
Ingredients* And I'm willing to suggest that while most housewives will read 
th© list ©f ingredients, 7Jn not so sure that they'll spend equal tisae ©» the 






Scripture passages, 

Vn l&ellned to say to ycu that P. f. Saraum, bless his soul* ©ace said 
that he'd give a thousand dollars to the preacher whose pasts ware first 
worn out ia the knees. Maybe somebody might offer a housewife in Saint Luke 
a thousand dollars whose Bible is worn out before her eook book. What I'm 
trying to s®y to you isa a very practical way is this? we ought not to forget 
that there is such a thing as the diet of the soul* And we'll spend all kinds 
of time and a considerable amount of stcney getting the accessary ingredients 
by which t© spread the table* . . .but will we spend equal time, or a generous 
portion of time, to think in terms of what's going to happen when we sit 
down to eat'? 

the people who live ia the Middle East, Gad bless thea, have always made 
much of the breaking of bread* To all intents and purposes maybe that's 
where it originated, for they honestly believed that when you sat dears to 
break bread with somebody, your soul was fed and nurtured and that was $sȤ~ 
thing far more important thaa simply physical nourishment* 

Far more important than the food that you eat is the conversation that you 
share* • - • Far more important than the tsible that you spread is the fellowship 
that you engender. So I riss ©e this Sunday next before ChristJaas, when we're 
gettiag ready for the most festive of all seass that we'll sat is the course 
of the y*ar, to ask the question; will you take earnestly the pr@para.tioe of 
the type of tbiag that's going to happen at your dinner table — as earnestly 
as you take time to set it? 

I've noticed Winifred ©a occasion, the pride that sha tatess Is getting 
the cloth on the table without a wrinkls — it lias t© rest on that table pre- 
cisely, not a 32nd of s& Iseh longer on one side than ©n the other. And then 
_ the silver, and the china, and the napkins — the time that's spent even in 
setting the table - - - the titae that's spsat even in making the decision as 



"A Diet For 3he Soul" (5) 



to what you will serve — the time that is spent, and peoparly ec, ia 
necessary purchasing of the Ingredients . . . the time that is spent in 
actually preparing the meal. But again I say with all the strength that 
1 can command, let's remember that time should also be spent getting ready 
for the kind of conversation we're going to share, and the fellowship that 
will b© engendered. 

Every preacher does his share of pipa-dr^aming, of course he does. I 
don't mind telling you one of mines 1 wish I had an independent income s© 
Shut I could live in a house that had a diniag room that could seat twenty 
peopla, and m»ty Sunday sight I'd love to invite mambsrs of the eongsaga- 
tiers in until we exhausted the roll, if it zotik us four years. (Selax, 
Winifred^ if I had an independent income we could hire a maid!) But 1 
lives would hm enriched, those of us who live is the parsonage, by the thing 
that you would bring to us 3 the insights that w© would have on certain preb- 
latas — what we could learn as we would sense the spiritual pulsebeat as 
you would discuss thiags with us that really matter most. There is as sub- 
stitute for this kind ©f thing. 

3tow X 5 a suggesting to you that you give equal time to the concern for 
what ? s going to happen at the dinner table as well m you're going to give 
to what is put on it. Mow going back to the Cook Book - - you're going to 
be fascinated by somas of the recipes, and because you're daring, because you 
like to experiment, you're going e© try sokss of thasa. And it could be that 
aa you go throughout the Cook Book you're recognise someone's name, and be- 
cause you happen to know that, person, you'll be all the mere interested in 
trying that recipe, because of the respeet that you have for that person, 
this I believe. 

New sll of this leads m® to say to yeu 9 for heaves'© sake, why don't you 
concern yourself with that diet £cr eh® sssul sad do a little ©xperim^nting 
there. Take the prophets of old — take the writers of the Pastas — take 









sosae of she writisg® ©f the Apostle P«tdL.,...td» sou® of the Beatitudes of 

^■; :"■ ^'iv.-.y.:.. ,, ,...,„ 

— reeogaig® them for what they're worth 

— try soma of their preaching 

— asouataa tse®g of their platitudes 

— put a high value upon some of their gams of thought.... 
fey them. Just as you'll try smm recipes for the first time and dt®eic>-w®t> 
that it* s to yo«r li&iag, you will go bask to it again and ever so of tan — 
it could he that way with spiritual truths. Try a little bit of Itmm when 
you eit dssm eo mar, — God 5 a kind of love, that is. Look tispou the psraon 
wh© sits at that sable wish you m a person, with fears 8 and hopes, and 
heart-throbs, just m you. Simply don't settle for passing the food, but 
recognise hte for what ha is. Try a little patience — a little bit moreso 
than usual. Anticipate the fact that cease the Christmas dinner yets may be 
seeding it — moras© tkm. usual...... get ready for it in sdvanse. 

Sine® God has give® us© the privilege to coma to this sacred desk as 
often as 1 hav-a mm ia almost two deeades, I don't hesitate to lay bare my 
soul to yea* discreetly or otherwise. I'm 8©i»g to do it sow, again. 

. . . I wish I would have taken time to prepare myself when I sat down 
to a Sunday dinner last July. Let me tell yeu shout it. lie was a 
nine-year old. "B® b®g,s» t© pout. He became f£dgifcy s uncooperative, 
H® exasperated his grandmother, and when I saw what, he was dol&g to 
her he triad my patience. We had a guest &t the dinner table, a guest 
from back here in Silver Spring. Little did I realise at eh® tins — 
I should have thought of it ahead of time — that triggered all kinds* 
of thoughts for him. Bless his noul 9 that nine-year eld at that dinner 
table was succumbing to a homesickness. His brother, his father and 
hU mother were all ©a Teat Troupe out is Illinois. He hadn't seen 



shssa foe- three weeks, atad a bit: of fesssasickaass *aad set isjo.»»»£0 
the day I die I s II rue the fast that: I l^st s^ tassper, sad I 
rebu&ad hfe — is front of msf gssasfe. Ha 2-aft ths eabls as.d ^«at 
£0 the bedroom aiad sebbisd out his hssrt,< EI . 
...* if oaly as v@ ra&de the necessary preparation for that meal foodwiaa 1 
might have ©ad© the necessary preparation s©ttl"*sd.se s that the sat ©f ay 
soul could have beam th&t no natter h©w hs might have triad our patience* 
I would have fess&a better equal to it. 

S® 1 say to you c eons Chat Cihrlstasas dinner* bus® your table will b@ 
spread beautifully » a»3 tim cloth will fee spotless, and it could b® that, 
within five minutes af tea? you sit dmm that a five-year-old will spill a 
glass of jailk. , ,>»<.«> g© whatt M&fca the aaee@ssuj preparation, 1 bog you - - 
...It's bett®r t@ m&t vegetables with people 
y@a leva tfe&s to eat ths finest neat vhm:® 
there is hostility P whes:« there is tension* 

4ad wuM y©u b@lieve it, this is the tenor., this is the quality — fe&is is 
the sssbat&ne® of she sermon that I preach to you as realistically as I can 
on the Suaday next fetafsrs Chris taas. 



?. 



(This sermon transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon ~ Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

Christmas Eve_. (/^^ j. .^u_ ^ryicu)_ . Dec ember 24, 1975 

1: CHRISTMAS IS NOW " 

GRACE. 1-lerey and Taaco. from God 
our Father and from His Son, Jesas 
ghrist , our Classed Lor d. Amen. , 

The title for this brief meditation on this night that marks the Holy 

Nativity is emblazoned on the bulletin that you have in your hand: "Christmas 

Is Now i: - - and the text is from the Gospel for this night: 

' ' For unto you is born t his d ay in the 
city of David a st 
Christ the Lord. 1 ' 



city of David a saviour , which is 

— *:-. — 



Whether you care to admit it or not, one does have his moment when he 
has to say that as far as God is concerned, it's now or never, "iaybe that's 
the way the shepherds felt that night. It came to them quite unexpectedly — 
they were surprised , they were awestruck. But then the angels were singing 
just for thei'f, so it seemed. And what they heard they heard exactly as it 
was meant to be heard ' ''For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a 
saviour which is Christ the Lord." And then the response. 

IThen God speaks , God espects us to respond. And they did! Without any 
hesitation, they were agreed. The Good Book says they said one to another: 
"Let us uow go unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass." We 
call the others the wise men, but I say to you with all the strength that my 

soul can command now the shepherds , too s deserve to be called the wise ones. 

For they were the ones who took the voice from Heaven at its word. When will 
you and I ever learn to take God at His word? When will we ever get to the 
point where we will believe Him. .. .completely. . .and without any measure of hesi- 
tation at all? 

louder tiie significance of this: it was news the like of which they had 
never heard before. It was news, wonderful news! The kind of news that earth 



"Chri"i:iv-,a 7 s How : ' (2) 

could not give,... the kind of news that could HM to them only out ftf this 

world the kind of news that they were not accustomed to hearing, But 

when God speaks., happy indeed is the person who takes God at His word. And 
they were the wise ones, who without any hesitation s without any reluctance 
whatsoever, they said one to another s "Let's go, and l?.t's see what God has 
planned for us." It was then, it was precisely in that present day. 

One of the lamentable things about most of us is this: we're putting off 
thinking fchat sorue good thing will ||M to us later on. Well, we live by anti- 
cipation j and happy indeed is the man who allows himself to believe it. And 
to a certain degree, with God the best is always yet to come. Bat that is 
not to aua that we should fail to claim what God is giving us today, in the 
present moment. 

Some people salts th' -mistake of thinking that all the ironderful things 
that God ever did, he did in the past, A"; J there are some people who imprison 
God in th<= past. They look back to the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob , and 
they say, those were the good old days, when people lived by the Tan Command- 
mantSj whan people came as a multitude itui sat at the feet of Jesus Christ... 
when the. multitudes haard Him gladly. But where are tbe multitudes today? — 
who hear Jesus Christ gladly? vhere are the people who balieve in this our 
day that He relates to our generation? There are those who lament and say 
for many today Jesus Christ is complete irrelevant. So they look back and they 
say, those were the days, vh«a God was active., when God could do a day's work 
and people would applaud. 

Or there are ethers who live for the millsni'im that is yet to come, and 
they put off believing and claiming all the treasury which God reveals and opens 
to tbem today because they believe that not until thffi will God in all His glory 
appear. Welt I happen to believe, and earnestly so, that if God is forever, / 

then He's been in the past but He doesn't stay in the past ..if God is 

forever, then surely He's in the future - - but His blessings will not be withf 



"Chri :■ ■- Ig •■■;• (3) 

held until some far-off day • - if God is forever, titan that nea He ia now. 
H« are able to tap His resources — today r . One of the saddest things to oe 
said about Christians is that taey fail to take God seriously in the avail- 
ability of all of His resources in the present moment. As than God who says 
to us through Jeaus Christ: "I will never forsake you' 1 ■• - axid then to under- 
line it completely he says, "I am with you now . . I am with you always." We 
long for peace. iJe think that some lay we will have peaea. lot Jesus Christ 
says, ''My peace . . 

, = =not,"l gave to you . . '' 
...not, "my peace I vfftH give to you . . " 
Christ says, 'My peace I give to you" - - now . 

I come to this sacred desk tonight to tell you that Christmas is now . 
Soma 22 years ago I bad the good fortune to go to the land that gave us Chris- 
tmas. 1 went out to the shepherd's fields. I went at night. The sky was a 
midnight blue, beapaekled with scars. The air was as cool and crisp as to - 
aigat's. There was a mystifying silence that was broken, only with the barking 
or dogs |a the distance. And theft Z quieted my mind and I hushed my heart, and 
I said* ?or suame upon youi You chink you're standing here trying to think 
of something that happened two thousand years ago!*' And I took my soul to 
task, and I said, it's happening now. God is coming to me all over again - - 
God is coming to me in this present moment* 

When I began my ministry, one of England's greatest preachers was Leslie 
Di Weatherhead - - he uaa since retired. Ue has written a number of books 
that have been read by a good many people here in the States, and for a number 
of years he was the distinguished preacher of the City Temple in London. He 
used to tell about going to visit a woman who had a great sorrow. . .one whom 
she j.oved had been taken away from her. And she could never quite make the 
adjustment. Alongside of her was a daughter who was trying her level best to 
comfort her. Dr. Weatherhead was making pastoral calls and ne stopped at tier 



"Ck as Is Sow" (4) 

hens. He feaocfcad at the -Toov, ha was ushered in.,, .he saw the two of then there. 
And before he could speak, a single word the bereaved railed out against him. 
She said, "T used to go to hear you ru-'ac"'. ■ — you used to talk about a God who 
lov«a us — ■ you. ',::-«<] to talk about s 'kid who would protect us — you used to 
talk about- a Hon. who would cor: fort us - - well, where is your God now? Where 
are His comforting i»S in. t&ift present moment?'' Br. Weatbarhead was a wise and 
good man. and. equal by the grace of God to the occasion, he said to her quietly 
and calmly, "You want to know about the comforting arms of God? They're here — 
right now! — in the arms of your daughter who has drawn near to you in your 
sorrow, who bar. cor;« to visit you, who is doing her best to assuage your grief." 
Cod's at work now •- - today - - - - in this present moment. 

Christmas, my friends, is now._ Christians are the Christmas people! We 
know that Tie's already come. We know that He chooses to make our heart a 
Bethlehem. We used to say through Advent. ''Into my heart- into my heart, cone 
into my heart,, Lord Jesus. Come in . . " when? You know how it goes -- - i? Come 
ill today . come in to stay. Come into ny heart, Lord Jesus." 

T ■"'-nee read about that terrible aarthquaka that tool; place in Italy. The 
land was devastated. .' few people remained alive. Hiaay were killed, But then 
Baa day they saw walking .on the rttias the tall, gaunt form of a Catholic priest, 
striding said the ruins, holding a baby in his n^ms. as much as to say: "God's \ 
beginning all over again ---• today — - now!" • — in the c ace of despair, in the face 
of defeat, even in the face of death. 

It took a bit of doing on the part of those shepherds to believe what they 
heard, Tt was not a very blessed day in which they lived.. If you think ours is, 
a wicked generation., 50 hack and real yoar history bosks about life In those days. 
But they heard a message with this word) "God has cone to us ■-- today --• Cb-istraas 
Is r>ow! Here! In this place! Share you are! Believe it, and then Christmas 

will be wherever you go. This I meat certainly believe, 

- 

* * * \ 

(Transcribed as recorded) 



Sermon - Pastor Raymond Shaheen 

Christmas Eve December 24, 1975 

'"WHAT TO GIVE?" 



GRACE, Mercy and Peace from God our 
Father and from His Son Jesus Christ, 
far Blessed Lord. Amen. 

Tell me, this Christmas, which is it — the giving or the getting? 
There is a difference, you know. And the acid test will come when you look at 

those gifts under the Christmas tree. Where will your eye linger longer 

on the gift that bears your name, or the gift that yon particularly put there 
for somebody el^e? 

When I was a youngster going to church I had a very high and good regard 
for my pastor. When I found myself on occasion talking back to him (under my 
breath, of course — he never knew it) - - it usually happened at that particular 
point in the worship servica when with a measure of aplomb he reached for the 
offering plates and then gave them to the ushers as they were about to go out 
to the congregation. .... .and he always said the same thing: I: lt is more blessed 

to give then to receive" . . . , 

I used to say to myself, I don't believe it! 

For as a youngster I was far more excited about getting than 
giving, and especially so at Christmas time. The gifts that 
meant most to me were the gifts that I got. Honestly now. 
But of course older people conditioned me that way, really they did. 
Because as I look back I also remember that for the most part when people would 
talk to me about Christmas, they would say to me, "Raymond, what do you want 
Santa to bring you? !: They conditioned me to think in terms of getting . I 
don't recall very many people, honestly now, asking me, "What are you going to 
give your mother for Christmas this year?*' I don't recall very many people en- 
countering me and saying, "Can I go with you to find something to give to your 



"What To Give?" (2) 

dad for Christmas this year". . . " what are you going to <>ive your htothers 
and sisters?" As a child growing up, as I remember it, and I tell it to you 
exactly as I remember it - - - "Raymond, what do you want for Christmas this 
year? T^hat do you think Santa is going to bring you?" So I didn't have much 
of a track record, you see, on this whole business of believing that it's more 
blessed to give than to receive. 

But God did. And Christmas, you know, is God's idea. And that's how 
it all began. Because He laid down the eternal principles that it is more 
blessed to give than to receive. And it's well that He thought that way, be- 
cause He's gotten precious little from us in return. It's a good thing He 
didn't stop and ask Himself, Tvhat will I get out of this? But God's not in- 
clined to think in that way. It's put magnificently - - : God so loved . . that 
He gives!" And that's the way it was the first Christmas - - God abiding by 
the eternal principle: It's more blessed to give. And so He gave. 

But now as I come to the sacred desk tonight, I ask the question: If 
it's more blessed to give than to receive, have you ever thought about giving 
to God? A blessed thing, to give God something. The question-of-questions re- 
mains: How much does Jesus Christ appear on your Christmas list? 

Not long after I began my ministry in that church in South Williamsport, 
Pennsylvania, we established the little Chapel of the Good Shepherd, a beautiful 
place in which to be made aware of the nearness of God. I knew a measure of de- 
light In going there frequently for my private devotions. And I remember going 
there the first Christmas we had the Little Chapel of the Good Shepherd — on 
Christmas Day in the morning. And much to my surprise I discovered that some- 
body had been there ahead of me. And there on the altar was an envelope. And 
on that envelope was a child's handwriting, and these were the x^ords that ap- 
peared in that childish handwriting: "Happy birthday , dear Jesus." That's what 
I found one Christmas Day In the morning, and Inside the envelope, a dollar bill. 
Bless her soul, she had thought to gi ve Jesus something. 



m rn»% Ye Qiva? " ( 3 ) 

But what can you five to someone who has everything? That's what we 
say about God, you know - - God has everyt hing . What can you give to someone 
who already has everything? Would you understand if I were to tell you that 
Winifred emd I have been blessed through the years with wonderful friends, and 
you, of course ; are numbered among them. And we try to love all of them equally. 
But in our friends that God has given us through the years we have a millionaire 
and his wife. Now when Christmas comas, can you picture our dilemma - - what 
can you give a millionaire for Christmas, a man and woman who presumably already 
have everything that they could need or want? And if they don't have it they 
have the money by which to get it. What can you give someone who already has 
everything? 

This sermon tonight bears the title: "Wist To Give? 1 ' And the text, as 
you might well know, is from that familiar passage, the second chapter of the 
Gospel according to Mat thaw, the litli verse - - talking about those three givers 
(we say three) who when they came to Mary and Joseph and the Child, they wor- 
shipped Iliir., and opened their treasures and presented unto Him gifts -~ gold, 
frankincense and myrrh. ..... .out of their treasures they gave to the King. 

Out of our treasures, can we give to Jesus Christ? I suggest to you we 
can. I suggest to you that we can give to Jesus Christ the things that arc 
precious to Kim because He made them precious to us.... 

, ...sheii Jesus was here on earth He spent a great deal 
of His time just going around talking with people. He 
spoke the truth - •- in fact lis said, "I am the way, the 
truth and the life. 5 ' Now Jesus is no longer here on 
earth. But God still wants done the things that Jesus 
did. That's why we have the church. Now would you believe 
me if I were to tall yo-a that God, to all intents and pur- 
poses, is quite helpless in His world when it comes to 
getting things dona. The only help He gets if from people 



'Imat To Give?" (4) 

who think of Him, and want to give Him something.... 

So, what can I give Him? 

Speaking for you and for me -- - I can give Him my voice. I can speak 
the truth as He wants it spoken. ThAi world of ours is desperately in need 
of people who will speak the truth. You know how miserable we've become as 
a nation quite recently, because wa had people who lied. They didn't know 
what it was to speak the truth. They allowed themselves to drift around in 
various shades of gray, and they twisted things much to their own liking. 
God needs people today who can sneak the truth. 

I once heard a man Mty God needs preachers who can 8p«ak the truth — 
decisively — convincingly. He said s "As far as our congregation is concerned, 
we really need a one-handed preacher -• - I'm sick and tired of our preacher 
standing up in the pulpit and saying, 'well, on the one hand this, and on the 

other hand this ' Let's have a nan who goes to the sacred desk and who 

says, 'Thus says the Lord' - precisely the truth proclaimed as God puts 

it in Ills heart.' God can use today people who will speak the truth, 

God needs people \-7ho with their voices will speak the truth winsomely, 
kindly, graciously. When Jesus Christ was here on earth. He also knew that 
measure of delight in going around talking with people, being kind to them, 
giving them encouragement, drawing out the best in them* 

God needs people who can speak the truth in love. I've known people who 
lives have been changed just because of what some, people 3aid to them. You know 

how you've said it yourself somebody spoke an encouraging word to you, and 

what have you said - - - "You've made my day!" I share this with, you from my 

counseling experience as he left my study one time he turned to me and 

he said, "Pastor, I think our marriage could have been saved if only once aba 
would have said to me, 'i-iy. that's a nica necktie you're wearing tonight.'" 

an< * on the other hand, I hear the acho of a woman* who said, "Our marriage 

could have been so much brighter and better if only ones he would have told me 



"Waat To Siva' (5) 

it was a decent meal/' The Tvorld is desperately in need of people who can use 
their voices to speak the truth and to 3peak graciously to one another. What 
ruin has come upon us by people who have spoken cynically, sarcastically, and 
who have ridiculed us! 

llhat can I give Him? 

Give Him something He needs - - my voice. A few years back in this parish 
I ministered to a family, precious, indeed precious, whollabored for years mini- 
stering to someone in their family who had lost his voice because of a stroke. 
"If only once again," she used to say to me, "I could hear hiffl call my name — 
if only to bawl me out!'' A voice is something to be cherished and treasured. 

My hands .... your hands — they're precious. They are to be cherished. 
When our Lord was here on earth He placed a high value on His hands, didn't Ha? 
He worked in the carpenter's shop, Se did an honest day's work. He took pride 
in what he did. The greater part of Sis life He spent working with His hands. 

You've heard it said to me "/hey don't make things like they used to make 

them.* If only people could take pride in their workmanship. Tha world is 
desperately in need of people who will l«£ their hands cio an honest task. But 
you say to yourself, I*« not a carpenter, X*a not a craftsman, I'm not a eculp- 
tor. Alright, you aren't. But God gave you hands to be kept busy, doing things 
that only can be done by your hands! Just as I come to this sacred desk Sunday 
aftar Sunday with awe and with reverence, you have a right to Know it - - there's 
a prayer on my lips: "0 Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth 
Thy praise." These hands of mine - •• do you chink for a second when I hold a 
baby in the crook of my arms and reach for water to sprinkle upon his head and 
to name him for Jesus Christ, that I do not recognize what a precious thing it 
is to take a pair of hands and to use them in blessing? What can I give Him? 
- - what He needs, he has no hands but my hands, your hands. 

When our biassed Lord was here on earth He gave Himself completely to 
doing the will of His Heavenly Father. In fact He said, "My meet is to do the 



"What _To _ Olve? ';_ (6) 

will of Him woo sant me." And in the last: chanter of His life that Be wrote, 

on bended aias He said, "Not ray will but Yours be dona" Ha gave Himself 

perfectly, completely. He gave Himself . When we confirm youngsters here in 
Saint Luke Church Wc nave them come up to the altar, almost individually we say 
to them; 'do you love the Lord Jesus and do you promise to serve Him. through His 
Holy Church? 5 " And the answer that's given, "Yes, with my waole heart.'' — with 
everything that I have, that's what the answer means. As Jesus Christ served 
His Heavenly i'ataer with all that He had, so God expects us, if we will turn to 
Him, to give our hearts to Him. The world is desperately in need of people who 
will commit themselves completely into cue hand of God. 

dwight L. Moody. God bless his soul, used to say, -'The world has yet to 
see what God can do with a roan totally committed to Him, and by the grace of God 
I'm going to be taat ma»| n i nsver cease to marvel at taa kind of good that's 
let loose in this parisn by people who give themselves freely into the hand of 

God who give themselves. 

There were some youngsters who were going to visit in an old people's home, 
and they set themselves a schedule, and they said, this week we'll take this kind 
of a package, and we'll take this kind of a basket full of presents, and then 
another week we'll take some other presents". .. .and they kept lining up for them- 
selves the things that they were going to take. And then one day one wit observed, 
•'What do you think would happen if sometime when we went to visit we took nothing 
but ourselves ? ;: Nov? I think I should tell you this - ~ Winifred and I have reached 
the stage with our millionaire friends when there isn't much that we can give them 
...except a telephone call, or a letter that we write. Just to shawethem that we 
love theru — not for what they have, but for what they are. And in that way we 
give something of ourselves. 

Now with 1976 just around the corner,, how about a New Year's resolution — to 
let ourllips speak truth graciously to let our hands be laid to a useful task 



"What To Give?" (7) 

that briars honor and glory to God, and to let all that we are bo. dedicated to 

Ha, .., 

"Wha-- can I give Elm, poor as I an? 

%t I were a 3heoherd, I would bring a lamb; 

If T. wore a wise mar;, I would do my part. 

l-7hat can I give. Staff I'll ^ive Him my heart." 



{Tills sermon transcribed as recorded) 



. Decffflfeegff^ia. UH 



"TEE ©SFFESSSrCE CHRXS*MiS MafSS*' 



IM-.-»f3fc=W^w«wJ..n 



Qfatthsw 2 J II) 



GRACE, I-S*ffcy and Feae* from GosS oar 
Father assd fresa His Son J®m& Christ » 



1 bat?® my laosseats whe& X ©iafe I h«d the tine to be able to write a beak 
regarding Scrip ture sad to ehare with fc'a® reader* what presumably could fe© ® 
child's reaction to certain Scriptural passages. A® an example, take today 5 a 
text* St v s recorded sss she lifch v«rs® of the second chapter ©f th® Gospel as™ 
cording to Hatthsw. Ami it refers, of coarse, to the wis® aea. 

They were warned by God to go back to their owb country a different «&y p 
la order to outwit tha wicked Kissg Rarod. And I' suppss® if X vara to sea 
through the «y®$ of a ehlM this vsree of Scripture, I could wail Isaagiae & 
child aayiags, "Goody lor you s God — goody £©£ youl 'ghat's ^fesfc I would 
hare dose, had 1 beess you. 1 wouldn't have given the 
wicked King Herod a ehsae© e© hurt those precious wis® Ken!" 
s , 3 for you aea» even a cfeiM could unde£»«,&5£d that a wicked Icing would heat 
thsaa and tosrtur© thessj trying to get the truth out of thsnt as to where the 
King of Sfes Jewe feed been bors. Aud bee . tee they we»g-& wise sad precious people, 
they wouldn't want to tell the wicked king about «hat they had aeen sad what 
they had expsrleaeed.. So through the eyas of a child, perhaps; "Goody for y®a 5 
God - - you did itl too, outwitted then! You heat fchaa! You didss^t give theffi 
a ehasace to do tha evil that they ooS in aind," 

Wells God is like that, God knows our evil intentions* 6od knows what 
we 9 d do if we had a chance to pull it off* and every sow and then <3©d outwits 
us. He eut~manet&er us. For assy nua^bar of seasons He jest ssoa't giv® us a 
chase© ts d© the evil 'shut wa Intend. 



" 



'US'' i' :.■;■?'*.->'■ ■■■:'.:'. fi\h:':..- ■'■■&:< ;-.--.i.'* ; ■;:.;:" 



I 9 ® lapreeeed by this ?8w, S*sb eoastrained to talk with ye* shout It 
this »raing s oa tfe® Sua&ay a£t#r Chriatsas* Wmi you thiak ©f it* of course 
yea KfeisSi «?£ is as a change £a trmml plans. They went hack t® their own 
country, traveling a different road than they had takes to got to Bathlehasa,. 
How the title few this eeraaat la; "She Piffaraaee Cfariataas Hakea." Aad if 
yoa read feetwaea thaaa Xiaea I wont you to gat boyead the biographical Inter- 
pretation of the tost and to deal wish tho truth that's impresaed. Sore, shay 
want hack to their own c&uatry by a different routa. Bat what's far saore ias~ 
portaat, they want had* differently,, feaesusa thay war® different am. 

if you were t& mk <m ssoas© of tfca Xessoas that Ufa has taught use, 1 
think I c©uM tell you without aay reluctance, one of the laasoaa I'a learning 
iaaraaeiagXy is this: that nothing swr is as was. lt f =s a wary sitspla thteg, 
Lif» is always bringing to bear upon us aaw f©re«8 9 sad tostorrow in all ltte~> 
lifcood takas u® areuad the bead in the r«ad to f®ea something that we dido, 5 '* 
faea yesterday. IfefMaag m"«r is aa waa. 

£ad God be praised, when the nssr element is Introduced that makes a dif™ 
feresaa for good la our Uvea. And Shot* a exactly what happaaad is the lives 
of the wise maa. When they eaia to Bethleh« s somsthiag a«w waa introduced 
into ehair Uvea — an saeoantar with Sod, It was the fact of tod beeaoee 
they ware constrained to kneel and feo warship, this happeaed. 

tod as y@u well know, of course y©u dss„ the searcher and tha fiadar m® 
differeat people. Khea you're sasrshlag £©*.* something, when yea sre leaking 
for aoaathiag, you ara set the sassa person as you are ©ace you'ira found itu 
So this is the dlf farenee that sssfc la — fch® aeaker ease to Journey'* aad 
aad found something. Aad that experience waa G©d"ee«ae~io~£b«ii»-lK-* Jesus Christ. 
"''''■'' : '-\" "■ -r.- ■'->- '■■ '>"-■, ,.-.■•■, ., m ■.;■;.:- .•- - jii:c^S;ssg3.*io= 

You know why I"» preaahiag this ummm, Sssdiiys, doa't you? ^*we made tfees 



..:.. Mjgf.f.gg . . ssa^iMiSM, $ 



louraey t© Bethlehem. W<s 8 ve been expos-ad ao the Christmas cllnatw. X'ss 

r«itsce«i«£ to say ta£s» hut I think ©ae has to. put it thin ways at Christmas- 
tisa &s far no ®fc&«¥ sasse© ©f the year, ssMsehew 1 God g&£§ across to b$ ia 
feiggSK- sad holder aad brighter terms thata &th&zmxm* Will you fee sensitive 
to tblst SfiH you ails*? it to task® its rightful impression upon, the fabric 
of your heart? Gut of yowr mm axparieae-s y©y> "saw very well that iss soma 
iastteses the last couple of days you've risen to as occasion that otherwise 
you might not h«fi?® arisen if it had net bears chat yets ware laid held upon hy 
■■-> -■■ '"fel^s?^ s;pfei$c ■;^;;. -Ha &v-v-; ^rir.?;?:< : m":: *K&?.££;:.J? yoy %•■- y- ^-:.' ; t ft w >,v/s 
done e asd y@<u did them gladly aad without thesaght ©I return. That*s the way 

: •- : ■■ ;,>- ";■:■:■ !: S":-- ; : : 3 e> y-i«, ;.,,; «'s>? . 'fer ;■',?: ;££, :■:,■.: Sic, Ciffv^le^', ,vl,y,; :'.fe. Kftrf*" 
tmas people » because at Christmas tea were exposed to God as wa w«2?® never 
exposed before* §©d was there ■— specifically — • aad tfeey vara aware of it* 

But don't let it happen to you m it's h&ppaaing to some people, that 
will pass through this Christmas-tide without giving God the «haaa® to task* 
the deal; upon she fabric of thair hearts . . . aad almost by keeping company* 
to a dagre© at least* with the Russian cossessnaut, the first to ratura trots 3 
"■'■■'•'"•-■ £-3 - :: ;.v: £,>?£■ :;a ; , ?nd --56 seid — did ha s ;■? -;,t ■■,■.•:■; i^-siXy ok .^aKs.vs©5::':.c«ili?? ! l ■-- 
he dldn T t ss© anything of God out there. But centuries before even the day of 
Jesus Christ there Was s spiritually sensitive Psalmist who said; 

"The heavens declare tha glory of God, and the 

Sirmsmnt showeth bis handiwork.." 

God is always dealing graciously with us, providing us intimations of His near- 

asaa , Mxb<h ind&ad is fchs tn&a who Is iw&re. of it* c^smsss once he's awsrs? of 
it a difference sets in. 

jmcw what was the difference that happenai there at Bethleiuem? I*m going 
to suggest two vhiags. 

On® - when they cane to 'B.nzh3Mi.^a they ware impressed as never before with 
the traasccndeaca &x God. Ssw bear wifch sn&;, I know what I'a saying. For hsesi 



was th® element of mystery -• - as they knelt before a baby bora to be King, 
ah&y coial&v f. figure cut way or how Sod could 4o this, ikad when you sad I 
ara impressed with the element of mystery In our ra&ationshlp wife God, some- 
thing seta ia in th© fabric of our heart*, that will hold as in good stead* For 
shame upon many of us, and I f ta always saddened when I coma upon anyone who is 
a member of this congregation who's ©acuta® so sophisticated that he a© longer 
stands in awe of God, or who is unwilling to accept, anything from God unless he 
himself can figure it out, or unless it somas reasonable zo him. Maybe that's 
the arrogance which becomes aaa 5 to think that he's able to figure out th© 
sdjaa of God and why Sod doas what He does and how He's able to do it* 

Some of us have lived long enough to look h&ck across eh© years and to 
thank God far the stock from which they stem. I coatiuue to rejoice Chat 1 
stem frost Mear-Eastarn stock. My parents s now of blessed memory, taught sis 
to accept the fact of God s with a sense of awe — clouded with a degree of 
mystery . . . never to allow myself to presume that I could figure out what 
lie was up to, but to sceggjt the evidence of Ills work. 

...they taught sa© s and for this I remain grateful, that 
there is to be this respectful distance between God and 
me, aad I recognise the transcendence. 
Fare, of she problem of modera man is Shis," ehat he*s become so arrogant, so 
sophisticated, that he refuses to accept what God offers until it fo«cciS&#, so 
impletely reasonable to him, or rationalistic > To the credit of these wise 
man, the impact was made upon them, the element of mystery was there. 

After this aervivae is over, Pastor David will take asad hold in the crook 
of his ana a child or two and name those children for Jesus Christ. The birth 

nbilz ■-■ -.\^y ■■;:■ :sk--,t -w ■< iv- ixv:. x':: :::.o:,ij..d hapnsvs cm :'-'c. hsp- 

paasj that th© germ of life can be transmitted £ Ua was a wise man indeed who 
©very time he walked down the of a Hospital, and passed th® nursery, the 



..... . . ....-,.-:.■ " . . :_ ... ; . 



crib xGGB&t he bowed his head la respect, and as he realised how the Tears 

would unfold ~~ the aysfcary that: was captured la the .lite of every single 
baby* 

The second thing that they discovered there in Bethlehem that mad© an 
impact upon their hearts was — • would you believe it — just the other side 
of the eoiKc the on& side is She transcendences •»*. the other is lis® feet of 
, the incarnation — that Sod would stoop to us *— that God would coaa to our 
level — that God would reveal Himself in human form! 

You fcsiow, don't you, thai. Cod's preferred way of working things out is 
always through a human being. When Ha saw fit t© offer us the sdracle which 
■ 'J- C rf?5&5Sf!i lm :&.mCae-d fee ' 

faithful and devoted , a Joseph. When He saw fit to fulfill for as the redemp- 
tive deed, 2® reaches for that carpenter's son. God's preferred instrument is 
;{f-^m: ■-'■::■ a trysail* h^iss,-> - - cbis las? •, . 3ma.z w?::. <■ m^z: »> , man % 
sj'iey ■■> ,- ," " -> "-.a 

-z'swe pacple- ymi s«® ? eMak G<d i?&'iy vrmrlud sss^K £h:Vo~£'*" ?;h.v; :-P : : : :."i;f' v.v .te,., 
£ai; 'K'.iiii, ffi:v::S She firs'; : . ';;ivc s?,o£ imtll ?fa®y iw--.%'L\>& tfesS h&r.-«u s:!iT.:ff?:.<;s a Iu»3.a:ii 
being, God cosaes to us, and in that Bab® of Bethlehem as He eass© through no 
other huoan being. And you realize this, and it aakss a difference, I say to yets 

Ho® let's get bad* to text again. Once the difference set in, did they 
stay there and bask irs the glory of itf They beheld the glory of God as they 
had never seen it before 3 but they couldn't stay there. They had to go back 
'to their own country . And fu willing to suggest to you they had to go back 
where there was hostility, where there was ten as «h >re there was unbelief, 
where there was insensitivityo 

■:&.■■:■ : -.: -■;:'■ ..' . so-isti" cf ;y"*'u r . A 'k'3.£W v-^xj vsal'L, she '.Li>Ki '-: -;bv. boay Shs.fi. 
'■■ . « v .?-b S«.is, .'-■;.:■ Qkureh. It's a shameful thin?! not to call by s. : A'R right- 
ful same trhat actually happens here. There are p , sosm of you, who live 



. : .- :■.;. , : ;v\.--,..- is Qi Lscoa3 \.i&k&if i&) 



fear tm hcnsr cfeafc you spead Ls; ^?:«- place s each Lord's Bay. But you can't 

stay here. T;i« p "!:^ gst a* g«> haek, ssil w^Ik is &s ?ai',uBE &£ sislfee-g - - o> 

dteal with those wis© est* iasensitlva B to nrf.»ister to these who ridicule the 
fact of God, who speak cynically of wksfc eh® church saaad® for. You've got 
to go i?ack. It's the same country, but when you go back,, you m »ask differ- 
ently . . . because you f r® ■-■ Ckxl&t^s frsrson «fey Ba&sld tha facs of 3^m:a 

One of she books that .1 want to read again in 1976 is one that was written 

--'- -' ^~ : :- 7-^,'ss eg'> '■;•'■ WU'ffifi' ; ■■:' ; ; vi^r: ■•■ . "isac?-; is l'i2S, :■ ??yr-s^a~.c v.. I-fovals''''' 
a * . ., and back there Walter Lippmasan is lamenting the fact that people were 
giving up belief in Gad, They just couldn't get themselves ft© believe the 
Christmas story, m an example, ftjsy called it a fsbls, a myth, a dream. But, 
said fes, there were those who believed it* It gave a sense of order and dignity 
and purpose to their lives, Llppsuann lament® in that hmk chat when people no 
jimi ,:?.?-' l::e:;Uv;.;.vw'd ::fc s&-. : jy loss .:.R«.*r^o'.?rj:,, a..-. I &f)' wc^v;, i'd;.:.^:^!;^;.,, *? few p.s.ys -L": 
•''••5' « ''"■'"'■■>■ :v '-'.■"' :'■■-■''.-' ■:■■-;■..-:■ 'ri: ■;,-.■--: '"'Vhej ;:?.-:•:■•:. £;""':•;•/«■ ?r.y s a ?;!;■; •'.:;:-. y^i ■^^w.kss: 

Before the first service this morning someone headed me this,- I 'a con- 
strained to read it for you. It ? s called "Courage." Maybe it's not exactly 
the pay you would have written it or •the way you would say it, but give it a 
chance so saaka its point. ■ • » . 

Go back in your rxlnd to a long time ago, 
Aad try to imagine these events as they happened; 

Pretend to yourself that you are for a Phi 
A young teenage girl, hug© with child;, 

Hiding days .■■,. a donkey, mile after sail*., 

nood mes s* fchey dri&fe, 

■' ■■- ; i ; .. litev*: ;■"■':;"- hwrtj a'jusng ritfe the Joy 

HOW pJ'^Vfr, -;; ... . „ '- - v . v ' j.-. ^fvsrf fiile, 

>hi?\-y v-±& ;--~i.Prl;-i.^. ? .« .iT.-n^ir,?. ',^r,;;x: : ^i sadls,, 



The y -....; ,; : .,.. sa Chris teas '-lakes' (7) 



He surely is what honor and bravery are about, 

To 'lake ha£ as bis bride, tfichossK a doubt," 
To know she carries a child* not of his staking* 

Public opinion lie withstood, his faith unshaklng. 
!&■,•*<? bis fri-> ;■.:.?« -iv:'?;: !i.?,"3 ribbed lii?i •*— tb'lu-^e 

araa't so this day* 
vT;,-.y,M ;f.-,.«, a;-?-'*? th. - ; eessrag® to walk in his way? 

'is.e ,Vv:j:j. a y ;._.-;■ jty-i-x^ thijus&ndti KE/av- the sr.raat, 
Ifc;"al3 a-:?' filled; i1-;k«1-s ! s. ss- igareai,. 

'£c a i::to'bio & :-'.;.Vi jsadi: '*,b?5K 5 v;i.v:h . : ?■•',« si rrra-ie. hay.- 
Poor liary* so xtfear;?:, « sole «I.y , ;;.- 

:??:-3s:; Js-aapi-. ;jo worried ■-- asfeals at her :"sat, 
T<-& car:'-:: : In «i&a -".i-or,; :>::.:.•;': xcc"; So «wo. 

Her Islsor bi';ii:V;ASj snd thivk ;•:'•;,>: a sbibw 

Of a £riv&&3r-.eti yoyu,::-,;.;- girl about f,s fee,;-.". fc..-;=r /l.^st --n-llel 
■'a a sv^ablx- .r>r cetfcls, oe. a bad of hay, 

In a *?3,t$ ot st-ranyaxsj. r; •.-:;• f ;^-;/" ■■.;■;./ . 
should yce have ths eoa.E.-aysB ; > - i ; s t>m.% t.©d»yi 

Ihe, k.cky -.:-.: Nii-cs, an.b ;:.\? He ley :re. tl>,« hs; ; 

i- sS&r ■;; ;;.»' li^Ulf-lsx- tmrrc-d. algM; isf.T,< li?} f; : 
?v.?.grt '..r s T ' .;:::.; v. •';■.-. ; -:-d -.V;>d ;to-i»^ t'T,-'--- «:.1i>d ;::ll:,fi.gs ilb?K ? 

In other countries vise saa started to follow 

Xha ta that od ?b-<.,>. Boy s-sE'e surrounded by light, 

A'taJtJJ«»A» IsTOEs ntaTSQ SwOOu W piOMt S3.gCIC » • • 

ills :rjrv ; eali er^-y yss;.r v aad 1 pray, 

"l".j : ;; iv'-.w; ;;v3 -ijiS ?;••..>;;•:. ! .sg,a t '.>3 'baliiavs if, >:«iayi : ' 

the vi ; . £fi-sr had 11\ e««r se : ::o b«*jilav<s rU:,,, 

«>;-'t •ftb«y ye-B«: tnck t . .. „• , dii : 5sc;'i*.t»^iy« 



; " ; .' " .- ■;::■ £ rci-iurit;,!,*: 1 ■ ai recorded] 



& 



(3 



->w- -yet ^ dc i tU<^ / t*£ fa /1/vw- /W a^ 

#+ Oj*4**A f **&*£, £ ^M thus Ct*2t<^ <~evy^ ^y^U^ 






v^lkt 5/>^£u v^v^s Avt^L A^ /"» /<£& t J 1 ^ ^ c ?7 cUllu 
jz Lydi umJU ccmaj^ ^ <G** , aCi* ^ -^~ ^>^c/c t^ 
tC2^ (urt /C^ - & /^ w /G^ . *Mo ^^ /u - 



7 » o dty^u, - . Ux *^ ^ •.